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Systematic review of the literature on black and minority ethnic communities in sport and physical recreation

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The home country sports councils have a remit to increase participation in sport generally, and UK Sport has a remit to lead sport in the UK to world-class success. The sports councils have a particular concern with those groups that might be missing out on what sport has to offer, as evidenced by initiatives such as the development of the Sports Equity Index (Sport England 2001), the promotion of the Equality Standard1, and the establishment of Sporting Equals in 1998 by Sport England and the Commission for Racial Equality. The concern with increasing participation is twofold: to maximise the recruitment of talent; and to allow all sectors of society to enjoy the presumed benefits of sport.

One of the continual challenges of this review is accommodating the different understandings of what is meant by BME communities in the various research studies and policies reviewed. While it is important to recognise that everyone has ethnicity, our interest here is with the communities that constitute ethnic minorities in the UK population. Although the census data show many people from ‘white’ minorities in the population, the majority of the research studies considered here focuses on ‘black’ and ‘Asian’ groups.

What is considered appropriate and useful language/terminology shifts with time and from one environment to another. The categories used in research and data-gathering sometimes reflect those debates. As identified at various stages of this report, ‘race’, ethnicity, religion, nationality, culture and heritage are often confused and/or combined. In line with the original brief issued by Sporting Equals, ‘black and minority ethnic communities’ is used as the collective term. Where national statistics allow, separate ethnic groups are identified and, similarly, wherever possible, research findings are disaggregated to address separate ethnic groupings, though these are not always comparable from one study to another.

Naturally, the report is constrained by the material at our disposal. While the limitations of a term like ‘Asian’ are recognised, this term is frequently used in the literature (normally as a label for people whose families originated in the Indian sub-continent). Thus, for example, people who class themselves as Chinese in the Active People Survey are not included in the aggregated ‘Asian’ category but rather in the category ‘Chinese and other’. In an effort to represent minorities more appropriately, the names devised may make for clumsy reading. Just because someone (or their parents) originally came from another country need not prevent them from seeing themselves as British; hence the use in the Active People Survey of categories like ‘Asian or Asian British – Indian’ and ‘Black or Black British – African’. While in tables of data the original labels are retained, in the text they may be abbreviated (to Indian or Black (African) respectively).

To encapsulate sport and physical recreation, the starting point is those activities recognised by the five UK sports councils for purpose of investment or services. This list does include the popular physical recreations of walking, cycling, darts, dancing and snooker/billiards/pool. It does not include those activities where an animal does all the work (greyhound racing), pub games (unless the pub hosts a bowling alley or snooker table) or board or card games.
While baseline definitions can be established at the outset, in reporting other research, the definitions used by the original authors have to be used. Where these differ markedly, that difference is identified.



 editors comments   

Editor's comments - [ This review, conducted for Sporting Equals and the sports councils by the Carnegie Research Institute, examines participation in sport and physical recreation by black and minority ethnic (BME) communities as segments of the population identified in the government’s equality legislation (as reflected in the remit of the Equality and Human Rights Commission). It is a review of a decade’s research literature. In conducting the review this report is not just concerned with what is, but how opportunities might be extended and improved. The challenge, then, was to establish what works for whom in what circumstances and how programmes work. The goal was to inform policy and practice. ]  Reference this?Cryer, J. (Year). This page title in italics. Retrieved date, from <this page's full URL>

In the text: Cryer (year)


APA reference for this document


Reference : Long, J. Hylton, K. Spracklen, K. Ratna, A. Bailey, S. (2009). Systematic review of the literature on black and minority ethnic communities in sport and physical recreation. Leeds: Carnegie Research Insitute


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Download this file (BME_Final_Full__Report[1].pdf)BME_Final_Full__Report[1].pdfLong, J. Hylton, K. Spracklen, K. Ratna, A. Bailey, S. (2009). Systematic review of the literature on black and minority ethnic communities in sport and physical recreation. Leeds: Carnegie Research Insitute
Last Updated on Friday, 06 November 2009 12:42  

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