As the world continues to grapple with the impact of COVID-19 and amid a year of social reckoning, why is now, perhaps more than ever before, a time when our mission at equitysport is absolutely critical to the future of global sport.
The COVID-19 pandemic and a year of determined social activism has lifted the veil on vast structural inequalities entrenched just beneath the surface across global sport.
Despite vocal and aspirational promises to the contrary, following the first wave of lockdowns around the world, the post-COVID-19 recovery in sport has actively prioritised the restoration of the status quo. The radical rethinking and re-imagination of global sport and the genuine desire to 'build back better' faded as quickly as it came about as soon as our day-to-day freedoms were reinstated, and actions from governing bodies around the world have failed to deliver anything resembling a 'great reset'.
The rush to return to a semblance of normality in sport has seen us forget the optimism and idealism afforded to us during the depths of lockdown. When COVID-19 took sport away, we lusted after its very best attributes, we dreamt of making it even better, and as we confronted the impact of inequality in wider society, the voices of the marginalised, underrepresented and underserved were starting to be heard, sometimes for the first time.
We talked of structural change, fantasised about shifting priorities, and as the world of sport hit pause, we critically reassessed what it all meant.
In the UK, Team GB resolved to prioritise the taking part as much as the outcome, everyone from governing bodies to local clubs churned out glossy new diversity and inclusion plans, the IOC pledged a more sustainable Olympic Games, and the global sporting audience started to demand, in numbers never seen before, a bigger platform for women; better safeguards for participants of all sports; better representation for minority ethnic communities and a renewed determination to tackle racism and discrimination in all its forms.
The great oil tanker of change was starting to turn.
But as idealism met reality, as the first round of lockdowns released their grip on our daily lives, our collective enthusiasm for change took a hit. The day-to-day grind returned and the long summer days of dreaming for a better future seemed as out of reach as ever, mere inventions of uncluttered and unhurried minds.
The truth is, the great reset in sport hasn't happened.
So now, more than ever, it's critically important to bolster and support organisations like equitysport. Organisations that won't shy away from holding sport to account long into the future; won't tire of dreaming, reimagining and thinking of better answers to our biggest challenges; won't be hurried into a return to the status quo; and will continue to deliver real change on the ground in some of the most disadvantaged sporting communities in the world.
In 2021 and beyond, equitysport vows to:
Double down on our commitment to improving the collective understanding of inequality in global sport through research and public information campaigns.
Expand our targeted advocacy programmes to ensure sport lives up to its promises, particularly to underrepresented groups around the world.
Establish a path for real and effective legal recourse to tackle instances of discrimination and provide a powerful voice to the underrepresented and underserved in sport.
Grow our capacity building programmes to democratise sport, break down knowledge silos and better distribute resources, wealth and opportunity in sport.
Sport remains the ultimate symbol of equality, but not yet the substance of equality. But if we learned anything in 2020, it's that this generation will refuse to stand by and let the wrongs of yesterday define our shared future.
Let us be the generation that said inequality in sport is not inevitable. Let us be the generation that said we won't stand for opportunity in our sports to be determined by anything other than talent, and then let us follow up those words with determined, consistent and if necessary, radical action.
If sport means anything at all to you, then it's worth fighting for. If the values of sport are worth more than just words on paper, then let's unite to make them a reality.
If you have the capacity, please consider supporting our #GivingTuesday fundraising event, 24STR8 with a donation, big or small and help us build the capacity to deliver a fairer, more equitable sporting world this year, next year and long into the future.
Find out more about the event and how you can get involved HERE.
24STR8 is a fundraising challenge event happening on 1st December 2020 to celebrate Giving Tuesday and raise awareness of equitysport's mission to make global sport fairer.
equitysport is a UK-registered charity (1189559) that exists to advance equality, diversity and equal opportunity in and through global sport. Through free-form development, education programmes and targeted advocacy the charity seeks an inclusive and equitable sporting ecosystem that lives up to the true values of sport.
Notes to Editors
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