13 May 2021

British racing’s leading organisations commit to improving diversity and inclusion

British racing’s leading organisations have come together to improve diversity and inclusion across the sport under a unified “Industry Commitment” to ensure racing truly is a sport for everyone and to help the sport grow and thrive in the future.

British racing is proud to be one of few sports where all genders compete on equal terms. The Industry Commitment aims to formalise the sport’s approach to diversity and inclusion and builds on the extensive existing activity already taking place, including community engagement, education activity and charitable work. Much of this is highlighted and celebrated through the Racing Together platform which has showcased over 80 initiatives across the sport enabling the broadest range of people to participate, progress and achieve in horseracing.

The Industry Commitment follows the establishment of the Diversity in Racing Steering Group in 2017 and represents part of British racing’s Covid-19 ‘Recovery Plan for British racing’, which includes putting in place foundations for a longer-term sustainable recovery for the sport through engaging new and diverse audiences in all aspects of the racing industry.

Industry Commitment on diversity and inclusion

The Industry Commitment has been undertaken by British Horseracing Authority (BHA), Racecourse Association (RCA), Racehorse Owners Association (ROA), Thoroughbred Breeders Association (TBA), National Trainers Federation (NTF), Professional Jockeys Association (PJA), National Association of Racing Staff (NARS) and Great British Racing (GBR) who are collectively responsible for the operational running and promotion of British racing.

The Industry Commitment is underpinned by five key areas which are crucial to British racing’s long-term ambition to create a truly diverse, inclusive and welcoming sport:

  1. Leadership and Accountability
  2. Good Governance
  3. Education and Awareness Raising
  4. Celebrating Racing’s Diversity
  5. Engaging New Audiences

Next Steps

Each organisation will identify its own priorities and activities under these five areas, and these will be mapped out in their individual Diversity and Inclusion Action Plans, due to be published during 2021 with updates on progress reported against annually.

It is hoped that other organisations across British racing will be encouraged to join this Industry Commitment and play their role in creating a truly diverse, inclusive and welcoming sport in the years ahead.

British racing commits to:

1. LEADERSHIP AND ACCOUNTABILITY: industry leaders ensuring and taking accountability for the creation of a more diverse and inclusive sport

  • Each organisation will ensure diversity and inclusion become part of regular Board level discussion and decision-making.
  • Each organisation will identify a Board member to champion diversity and inclusion and agree specific activities to drive change.
  • This work will include diversifying Board representation in line with recommendations set out by UK Sport to adopt a target of – and take appropriate actions to encourage – a minimum of 30% of each gender onto their Boards by the end of 2022. Plans will also outline a collective ambition to increase Board diversity with regard to other identities – including but not limited to ethnically and culturally diverse communities and disability.

2. GOOD GOVERNANCE: ensuring a better understanding of the racing landscape to influence policy, practice and procedures

  • Each organisation will work to improve the collection of diversity and inclusion-related data across British racing.

This will include:

  • information on the industry’s workforce; and
  • ensuring a better understanding of the attitudes and perceptions towards British racing from underrepresented groups, ethnically and culturally diverse communities and the barriers to getting them involved in the sport.

3. EDUCATION AND AWARENESS RAISING: giving everyone across racing access to learning about diversity and inclusion and why they’re important to the sport

  • Each organisation will ensure all Board members, senior staff and volunteers undertake learning and development on diversity and inclusion, including their benefit for the sport.
  • More broadly, the sport will make use of platforms, including British racing’s Racing2Learn e-Learning, to allow everyone across the sport to develop their learning and understanding of diversity and inclusion issues.

4. CELEBRATING AND SUPPORTING RACING’S DIVERSITY: showcasing the diversity that exists across the racing industry in order to create an inclusive sport where difference is embraced, and everyone is valued

  • Each organisation will share best practice and celebrate diversity and inclusion across the industry, for example building on the good work of Racing With Pride (British racing’s LGBT+ network) and Women in Racing. This includes work being undertaken by a wide range of organisations across the sport, beyond those signing up to the Industry Commitment and includes a broad range of identities.

5. ENGAGING NEW AUDIENCES: promoting racing as a sport for all and encouraging diverse communities to take part

  • Each organisation will ensure its promotional activities send a clear and consistent message that British racing is for everyone, in order to make existing audiences feel welcome and valued, as well as to take the sport to new audiences. In this way British racing can be enjoyed not only by this generation but also by diverse generations to come.

Comments on the Industry Commitment

Annamarie Phelps, Chair of British Horseracing Authority, said: “This is an important step forward for the sport. We have so much to celebrate in British racing, including men and women being able to compete on a level playing field. Equally, it is the responsibility of all of us in the sport to ensure we can showcase British racing as a modern sport which is truly diverse, inclusive and open to all. Being proactive about improving diversity is essential to the long-term viability of the sport, but first and foremost it is absolutely the right thing to do.”

Maggie Carver, Chair of the Racecourse Association, said: “Racing is for everyone. Racecourses want to welcome back as many racegoers as possible when it is safe to do so and our collective commitment to improving Diversity and Inclusion is a vital part of our future. The RCA’s strategy to help racecourses in this regard is evolving and we are already forming plans on how to increase our understanding of existing and potential new racegoers so we can better serve a wider section of society and increase racing’s fan base.”

Charlie Parker, Chairman of the Horsemen’s Group, said: “Our members are the heart of British racing in their roles of breeding, owning, training, riding and caring for our racehorses. We want them and future generations to feel racing is a sport for them and welcome being part of today’s Industry Commitment.”

Tony Langham, Chairman of Great British Racing said: “It is vital that all of us within racing do more to increase diversity and inclusion in the sport. The commitment is an important step but we need action as well as words from the industry and it is incumbent on all of us to ensure that there is continuous, sustained and tangible progress.”

Signed on behalf of British Racing by:

Annamarie Phelps
Chair, British Horseracing Authority

Maggie Carver
Chair, Racecourse Association

Charlie Liverton
Chief Executive, Racehorse Owners Association

Claire Sheppard
Chief Executive. Thoroughbred Breeders Association

Emma Lavelle
President, National Trainers Association

Jon Holmes,
Chairman, Professional Jockeys Association

George McGrath
Chief Executive, National Association of Racing Staff

Tony Langham
Chairman, Great British Racing

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