HC Deb 30 June 1999 vol 334 c198W
Lorna Fitzsimons

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what action his Department is taking to encourage participation by and representation of the Asian community at national level in cricket, badminton, hockey and football. [88676]

Mr. Banks

Sport can play a major role in ridding society of racism, especially given the positive influence it can have on young people. It is an issue which impacts on all sports and must be tackled by them.

Sport England, in conjunction with the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE), has established a Racial Equality Advisory Group to work with all sports national governing bodies to encourage racial equality in sport. The group meets on a regular basis and comprises representatives from a variety of agencies. The Group examines issues relating to ethnic minorities in sport, and advises Sport England to ensure that its policies offer equal opportunities to all people, irrespective of their ethnic background.

Furthermore, all recipients of grant-in-aid must agree to have all facilities, courses and events open to the whole community. Similar criteria are also used in assessing applications for grants from the Lottery Sports Fund.

Much has been done to address the problems of racism in football. I am pleased to acknowledge the good work undertaken by the Commission for Racial Equality and the Professional Footballers Association, who were involved in the Lets Kick Racism Out of Football campaign. The Football Task Force Report on Racism in Football, produced earlier this year, has also been very well received alongside initiatives such as Kick it Out and Show Racism the Red Card.

I want to ensure that the lessons and proposals highlighted in that report are extended to other sports. To this end I have recently written to the governing bodies of five major sports as a first step asking how they are going about addressing any problems within their sports. I intend to call a meeting with those governing bodies, the Commission for Racial Equality and the Local Government Association to root out this problem.