Brian Lewis, president of the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC), will chair a new task force dedicated to race, gender, diversity, and inclusion to press meaningful reform.
The task force was established by the Sport Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA), to which Lewis, is a member of its council, following the successful SIGA-Soccerex Webinar on the topic, “Football For All”.
Lewis, who is also chair of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committee (CANOC), said: “There is a Yoruba proverb that says don’t be afraid to look at your faults. When we acknowledge our errors and face up to our shortcomings, no one can use them against us. On the issue of racism and racial discrimination and inequalities in sport. It is our duty, responsibility, and obligation to create positive change.
"Nelson Mandela said that sports have the power to change the world while Mahatma Gandhi said to be the change we want to see. We have to root out and eliminate all forms of discrimination in sport.
"More specifically systemic racism and racial discrimination and inequalities is a reality for too many involved in a sport where the colour of your skin matters more than your character. This is unacceptable and now is the time to do something about it. We cannot continue to ignore and deny the problem."
The task force’s mandate is to develop and propose a series of recommendations aimed at promoting the highest standards on race, gender, diversity, and inclusion in sport. These recommendations shall be submitted to the SIGA Council for approval by the end of August with a public announcement to be made during the SIGA Sport Integrity Week (September 7), during a virtual media conference.
On the creation of the Task Force, Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, CEO of SIGA and chairman & CEO of SIGA AMERICA, said: “Zero-Tolerance is SIGA’s stance against racism and any form of discrimination and social exclusion. They have no room in any society that considers itself decent and just. And the same applies to Sport.
"The public demonstrations that are happening everywhere are serious and constitute a powerful and timely reminder that a lot more needs to be done to bring about the much-needed cultural changes. The SIGA Task Force that we are now announcing is a decisive step towards that goal.
"On behalf of SIGA, I thank all leaders who have responded to our call for action and volunteered to serve on this task force, and will now be working on a set of recommendations on race, gender, diversity and inclusion in sport, to made public within two months, during the Sport Integrity Week.”
Densign White, CEO of International Mixed Martial Arts (IMMAF) and Member of the SIGA Council, said: “When it comes to gender and racial equality, international sport is lagging. The recent Black Lives Matter protests have shone a spotlight on institutional discrimination and provided a catalyst for organisations across many sectors to look inwards and start implementing change. I am proud that SIGA, once again, is leading the charge in sport and I am honoured to have been invited onto this Task Force.”
About inclusivity, Stacey Copeland, first British woman to win the Commonwealth title for Boxing and SIGA champion, said: “Sport is one of the most powerful things on the planet for bringing about positive change, this is why it is so important for sports to be inclusive. As a SIGA champion, I am excited to be part of the task force to use our platforms and passion for sports to make a difference.”
Karin Korb, Wheelchair Tennis, two-time Paralympian and 10-time member of USA World Team & SIGA champion, said: “Working with leaders whose foundational common denominator is equity will move our work in an exponentially significant way. While disabled people are often thought of as a monolith, I am looking forward to collaboratively furthering the work of SIGA as a member of the 'Race, Gender, Diversity, and Inclusion' task force. I am excited to bring forward the continued and intentional inclusion of the diverse and intersectional framework of disability in our sports equity narrative.”
Other members on the task force are Affy Sheikh, head of Starlizard Integrity Services and SIGA Member, Angela Melo, SIGA Council Member, Paul Elliot, Member of the FA Inclusion Advisory Board, former professional football play, Ju’Riese Colon, Chief Executive Officer, US Centre for SafeSport; Katie Simmonds, General Counsel & Senior Director, Global Partnerships, SIGA; and Pavel Klymenko, head of policy at FARE Network (Football Against Racism in Europe).