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Leeds Beckett research helps tackle sporting inequality

Leeds Beckett has joined forces with Sporting Equals to promote diversity across sport.

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The partnership was formally announced during the charity’s annual BEDSA (British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards) event.

As part of the link-up, Leeds Beckett’s centre for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will become the lead research partner for the national organisation, which promotes greater involvement in sport and physical activity by disadvantaged communities - particularly the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) population.

DEI head, Professor Kevin Hylton, from Leeds Beckett’s Carnegie School of Sport, said the partnership would provide the opportunity to enhance the impact of the university’s research on sport and social justice.

“The work of Sporting Equals and Leeds Beckett’s research centre for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has never been more important or timely,” he said.

“Given recent events – particularly in professional football – it is clear that much more needs to be done to achieve racial equality in sport.

“As the leading research partner with Sporting Equals, we will work in collaboration to offer greater research insight, raise awareness and promote diversity and equality across all sports.”

The lead researcher role will involve joint research with partner organisations and the sharing of expertise to help address racial inequality in sport.

Leeds Beckett’s DEI centre will also help Sporting Equals to refine the charity’s newly-launched Sporting Equals Charter, which aims to promote participation, employment, volunteering and leadership in sport and physical activity.

The research partnership was formally announced during the Sporting Equals’ recent annual BEDSA (British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards) event.

At this year’s BEDSAs, Raheem Sterling and Ama Agbeze were among the winners at the high-profile London event, hosted by comedian and presenter Nish Kumar.

Sterling was named The City Livery Club Sportsman of the Year. Apart from his success on the field, the Manchester City forward has spoken out against the portrayal of young black footballers, accusing the media of helping to “fuel racism”.

His stance has been supported by other sports stars that have experienced racial abuse, and renewed the public debate on the representation of BAME sports people in the UK.

Speaking about his BEDSA win, Sterling said: “Sporting Equals are doing some amazing work so it's a massive honour to be associated with them.”

England Netball Team captain Agbeze, who led her team to gold at last year’s Commonwealth Games, picked up the Royal Navy Sportswoman of the Year award.

The defensive veteran, who played for Leeds Carnegie in 2008, has played professionally in England, Australia and New Zealand, and currently turns out for London Pulse in the Vitality Netball Superleague.

Sporting Equals chief executive Arun Kang said: “The Sporting Equals BEDSA awards never disappoint, celebrating the outstanding work of volunteers and communities to the achievements of world class performers like Raheem Sterling and Ama Agbeze.

“These awards are important in terms of not only showcasing the excellent work and talent among diverse communities but also highlighting that there is much work still to do to tackle inequalities and under-representation in some areas of sport.”

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