White Woman Quits Commonwealth Games Committee After Calls for Resignations to Boost Diversity

Barrington Coombs/Getty Images for Commonwealth Games Federation

Dame Louise Martin, President of the Commonwealth Games Federation, has quit the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee 2022, following calls for voluntary board resignations “to make way for new voices from the Black community”.

Ahead of Birmingham, England, hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2022, Labour Shadow Sports Minister Alison McGovern, Labour MP Liam Byrne, and Labour leader of Birmingham Council Ian Ward had written to the Conservative government with a list of demands, including: “Post-BLACK LIVES MATTER, which board members will stand down voluntarily, as others have done, to make way for new voices from the Black community?”

Other demands included “a credible, external and independent equalities review with a racial equality lens” and assurances that a “percentage of jobs, contracts and procurement will go to our regional Black and Asian communities”.

Consequently, 76-year-old Dame Louise Martin, a former Games competitor, vice-chairwoman of the organising committee for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, and the first female head of the Commonwealth Games Council for Scotland, has now resigned. The BBC reports that she has been replaced by Sandra Osborne QC, a black lawyer based in Barbados, not Britain.

“The [Commonwealth Games Federation] is proud that our organisation reflects the diversity of the Commonwealth Sport Movement and that we have a person of Sandra’s calibre to actively contribute on the Birmingham 2022 Board,” said a CGF statement quoted by the BBC.

“The CGF supports the renewed commitment of the Birmingham 2022 organising committee to ensure that its governance and management fully reflects the diversity of the city and region,” it continued.

“Dame Louise will continue to play an active role in the supporting preparations for the staging of Birmingham 2022.”

The chairman of the Birmingham 2022 board, John Crabtree, added: “We are extremely grateful for Dame Louise’s time, effort, and her valuable contribution. We welcome Sandra to the board and look forward to benefiting from her unrivalled experience as her skill set and future input help us deliver an incredible Commonwealth Games.

“We collectively remain committed to ensure that Birmingham 2022 is truly a Games for everyone and something that the city and region can be proud of,” he concluded — but has not as yet tendered his own resignation.

Curiously, nor has Ian Ward, who is listed as a member of the board from which he has demanded voluntary resignations to increase its diversity — despite being a white British male.

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