55 national bodies now fully compliant with new world leading Governance Code for Sport

Published 20 December 2017

UK Sport and Sport England have today confirmed high levels of full compliance with the ambitious new Code for Sports Governance.

The two sports councils have written to 55 of the 58 national bodies for sport involved in the process so far, to confirm that they have met all the necessary requirements of the new Code, following the most widespread and exacting set of sports governance reforms implemented anywhere in the world.

The organisations judged to be fully compliant range from some of the largest in the country, such as the Football Association, Rugby Football Union, the England and Wales Cricket Board, British Cycling and the Lawn Tennis Association, to some of those with the least resources, such as British Wheelchair Basketball and England Handball. Regardless of the size or resources of the organisation, many have had to make large scale reforms to their leadership teams, constitutions and governance structures among other changes.

The Code contains important changes to the governance of sport, including:

  • Greater transparency, enabling participants and fans to better understand the decision-making of those leading their sports
  • Reforms to board memberships, including at least 25% independent members
  • Commitments to greater diversity, including at least 30% of each gender on boards
  • Establishing boards as the ultimate decision-making authority within a sport rather than traditional councils
  • Tighter term limits for board and council members to ensure a regular renewal of ideas and expertise

Three bodies have not yet been assessed as fully compliant with the Code. The British Mountaineering Council is on track to achieve compliance by April 2018 in line with an agreed timetable. This follows a recent independent review of their structure. Volleyball England is not currently compliant but has been given a three-month period in which to make the necessary changes to governance and finance arrangements to remedy this.

The British Equestrian Federation has met its initial requirements but is currently undertaking a review. The assessment of its compliance will therefore be completed once this review has reported early in the new year.

The expected successful completion of this process would mean that all 58 Sport England and UK Sport-funded national bodies which have been through the reform process so far will have fully adopted the Code within a year of it having been made live in April 2017. It would also mean that all 58 organisations remain eligible to receive public investment having transformed the way they are run.

Governing bodies will have to remain compliant with the Code and will now be expected to put action plans and commitments into practice, particularly those in relation to diversity. UK Sport and Sport England will continue to work closely together to support and monitor this progress in the months and years ahead, especially with regards to qualitative and behavioural change.

Sport Minister Tracey Crouch said:

“We have been clear that we want our sports governing bodies to have world-leading standards of governance and I am delighted that they have responded so positively to the introduction of the Code. The positive, extensive changes being made will strengthen sport in the UK, increase transparency and diversity and make sure that sports leadership is more representative of modern Britain.”

UK Sport Chief Executive Liz Nicholl said:
“Our National Governing Bodies should take great pride in what they have achieved. As a nation we have delivered on our promise to develop the strongest set of sport governance requirements anywhere in the world. The impact of these reforms will take time to have an effect however, and the true test will be in how sport in the UK operates every day in its leadership, management, decision-making and commitment to diversity and engagement.”

Sport England Chief Executive Jennie Price said:
“This is a very significant achievement for sport as a whole. Improved standards of governance will benefit the millions of people who play or give their time to sport every week. National Governing Bodies will be stronger, more transparent and more diverse in their leadership. As a result they will make better decisions, which will enable them to provide an even better service to those who matter most: the players and volunteers in their sports.” 

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