Most UK sports bodies are now compliant with new governance code

Photo: Duncan Rawlinson/Flickr

Photo: Duncan Rawlinson/Flickr. 


By Mads A. Wickstrøm
55 out of 58 national bodies for sport are now fully compliant with the requirements of a new Code for Sports Governance, according to UK Sport and Sport England.

In December, Sport England and UK Sport confirmed that 55 of the 58 national sports bodies involved in the process of implementing a new Code for Sports Governance, have met all the necessary requirements of the new Code.

“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,” said UK Sport Chief Executive, Liz Nicholl following last month’s count.

The organisations judged to be fully compliant with the Code includes bodies such as the Football Association, Rugby Football Union, British Cycling and the Lawn Tennis Association as well 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, writes UK Sports.

Organisations seeking public funding must meet a series of principles of governance 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

“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,” explained Sport England Chief Executive, Jennie Price about the impact of the new Code.

Improving sports governance: Play the Game’s Governance Observer

The UK Sport and Sport England Code for Sports Governance adds to recent developments in the field of sports governance. For instance, in 2017, Play the Game, in cooperation with leading experts from six European Universities started developing the National Sports Governance Observer (NSGO).

The NSGO is a benchmarking tool that enables national and international sports leaders to improve the governance of their federation by:

  • Establishing, sustaining and nurturing domestic networks of public authorities and sport stakeholders
  • Developing and applying the national version of the 2015 Sports Governance Observer (SGO)
  • Exchanging and disseminating good practices
  • Monitoring the implementation of good governance standards

The preliminary results of the NSGO was recently revealed at Play the Game 2017. The final report is expected to be submitted in November 2018 and will include a benchmarking of the national federations examined and specific reports for each of the partner countries.

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