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Racial Diversity in Sport

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"From the outset, we made it clear it was personal, and we weren't willing to do the project and move on. We have committed to being part of real change".
Akin Thomas, CEO AKD Solutions
AKD Solutions welcome the acknowledgement by the UK's five Sports Councils that racism and racial inequality remain significant issues across sport in the UK at all levels and have had a detrimental and disadvantaging impact over many years. 

With the publication of the #TellYourStory report and the wider review, the Sports Councils’ have accepted that the recommendations put forward should be used to develop and deliver tangible actions to tackle the issues raised. AKD Solutions hopes this commitment will be a springboard for positive and lasting change.

We are a Black-owned training and development consultancy, which researched and authored #TellYourStory, a lived experience report looking at the impact of race and racism on sporting lives.

In Autumn 2020, we began working with the Chief Executives of UK Sport, Sport Wales, Sport Northern Ireland, Sport England and sportscotland. With the murder of George Floyd, a catalyst, they had joined forces to commit to tackling racism and racial inequalities across their nations. Their goal - to develop a collective plan to help build sporting communities that truly reflect the societies they represent.

For #TellYourStory, we interviewed hundreds of Black, Asian and ethnically diverse people who shared their experiences of accessing, involvement in, or exclusion from sport. The interviewees ranged from grassroots participants, parents and supporters to elite athletes, coaches, sports media and the wider Sports workforce. The stories the AKD research team heard were challenging, traumatic, encouraging and inspiring, and we thank everyone who shared their experiences.

Heather David led the research for AKD Solutions: "This was a hugely important piece of work for the team and one that we were totally immersed in and committed to. We made a promise to all participants to represent them authentically. Their stories were used to craft a roadmap to trust and commitment to change across the sporting sector. The trends and themes that emerged offered an insight into the reasons for poor participation and lost talent. It is important that these stories aren’t told in vain and will be used to influence sporting policy and practice".

Ladi Ajayi is AKD Solutions Head of Sport: "Much work is needed to reverse the outcomes of systematic racism in sport. However, the Sports Councils' have started to address the inequalities, and I hope they continue to be brave enough to pursue a better, equitable and anti-racist sporting landscape".

Akin Thomas is CEO of AKD Solutions: "As a black-owned learning and development consultancy, this project was very personal to our team, many of whom have sporting backgrounds. We thank the CEOs of the Sports Councils and their teams for leaning in and fully supporting our work. However, our involvement does not end with the publication of the report. We recognise our role as an agent of change, and we continue to partner with those who share our vision and passion.
"To support change, we have developed a model of leadership called ACE to help organisations disrupt their normality and create significant change. It has been designed explicitly as a tool for leaders committed to greater diversity, inclusion and equity in their organisations, but it has far wider applications. ACE stands for Allyship, Challenge and Experiment, all of which are needed for true cultural change".

Click here to find out more

Read the statement from the Sports Councils' here.
For more information contact: Ladi Ajayi 07565469740 or email:

Sign up to our FREE Sports ACE Leadership taster workshop, this disruptive workshop is designed for sport Leaders, find out more here
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ACE is a model of leadership that provides leaders and organisations with a framework in which to disrupt normality and create significant change.  It has been specifically designed as a tool for leaders who are committed to greater diversity, inclusion and equity in their organisations but has far wider application.
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"AKD Solutions always positively challenged us to think bigger and think differently, that is why we continue to work with them and have such a strong partnership.  We always receive exceptional service from the team and the training solutions we create together never fail to win awards...... a great combination that always delivers a win win outcome!"
Gary Jackson, Group Director of Marketing Communications and Customer Success Mears
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We want to make a difference, not just in what we do but how we develop our people. Through AKD, we have been able to on board individuals and teams to our culture through conversation and fun, regardless of their geographical location, language and level in the organisation. Visionary and solution orientated, AKD understand our needs and are able to respond with ‘just the right’ solution every time.
Yvonne Villinger, Head of Global Talent and Cultural Transformation DB Schenker
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“What Akin and his team offer is very different to what many experience as part of a leadership development programme.  Their focus is on experiential learning rather than typical theory and classroom-based training.  AKD have partnered with us to challenge our approach and push the boundaries of our thinking to create and deliver a bespoke, innovative development programme for our leadership team.  The results have been truly inspirational and have left a lasting impact on all participants.”
Alison Bell, HR Director MTR Elizabeth Line
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