Following the successful SIGA-Soccerex Webinar on the topic, “Football For All,” the Sport Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA) has established a new Task Force dedicated to Race, Gender, Diversity, and Inclusion in order to press meaningful reform.

Conceived as part of the #SIGAccelerator initiative, this Task Force is composed of the following members:

  • Brian Lewis, President of the Trinidad and Tobago National Olympic Committee (TTOC), Chair of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committee (CANOC) and Member of the SIGA Council (Chair);
  • Affy Sheikh, Head of Starlizard Integrity Services and SIGA Member;
  • Angela Melo, SIGA Council Member;
  • Densign White, CEO of International Mixed Martial Arts (IMMAF) and Member of the SIGA Council;
  • Paul Elliot, Member of The FA Inclusion Advisory Board, former professional football play;
  • Ju’Riese Colόn, Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Center for SafeSport;
  • Katie Simmonds, General Counsel & Senior Director, Global Partnerships, SIGA;
  • Karin Korb, Wheelchair Tennis, 2-time Paralympic and 10-time member of USA World Team & SIGA Champion;
  • Stacey Copeland, First British Woman to win the Commonwealth Title for Boxing and SIGA Champion; and
  • Pavel Klymenko, Head of Policy at FARE Network (Football Against Racism in Europe).

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 2020 with a public announcement to be made during the SIGA Sport Integrity Week (Monday 7th September 2020), during a virtual Media Conference.

On the creation of the Task Force, Emanuel Macedo de MedeirosCEO of SIGA and Chairman & CEO of SIGA AMERICA, commented:

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 “Sport for All” 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.”

On his role as Chair of the Task ForceBrian Lewis, President of the Trinidad and Tobago National Olympic Committee (TTOC), Chair of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committee (CANOC) and Member of the SIGA Council, 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 sport has the power to change the world while Mahatma Gandhi said 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 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.

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 behind. 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 CopelandFirst 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 sport to be inclusive. As a SIGA champion, I am excited to be part of the task force to use our platforms and passion for sport to really make a difference.”

Karin KorbWheelchair Tennis, 2-time Paralympic 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 sport equity narrative.”

Affy Sheikh, Head of Starlizard Integrity Services and SIGA Member, said:

Inclusion is an absolutely vital tenet of sport – without it, its integrity will always be called into question. I am therefore delighted to see a strong commitment from SIGA towards eliminating any kind of discrimination in this area. We should all want to see fairness in sport and that means we have to set ourselves high standards in this regard.”