Britain’s Lawn Tennis Association says more needs to be done to make tennis in Britain open to anyone, in its response to the Black Lives Matter protests in the United States and other countries.
LTA on racism
In an open letter published on their website, the CEO of LTA, Scott Lloyd, says, “We haven’t done enough.
An acknowledgment of that and the need to do more, as individuals, as an organisation, as a sport and as a society is the only conclusion anyone can come to after taking the time to reflect on events in America in recent weeks and the subsequent demonstrations and conversations it has prompted around the world.
This is an issue that sits right at the heart of the vision we have for tennis in Britain – for it to be open to anyone. There is absolutely no reason that tennis cannot be a sport that can be played by all, no matter their age, gender, race, background or ability.
I want tennis to be a sport which appeals to anyone, reaches everyone and is inclusive. My commitment to this is absolute. Lloyd says that he wants to take action rather than just focus on words. “I apologise to anyone who may have been a victim of abuse.
There has to be a zero tolerance approach to discrimination of any kind, and we will be reviewing what we do to ensure we have the appropriate training, guidance and processes in place for this, and that the current and future generations of all those involved in tennis are properly supported.
What we also have to realise however, and that has been at the heart of the agenda in recent weeks, is that as much as we can ensure overt instances of racism and other forms of discrimination are not tolerated, we are part of a society where things are not equal.
Racism, and wider discrimination, is structurally ingrained in our society, and so the effect of racism is still very much evident and pervasive within our sport. We are, in particular, looking at the current composition of our Board, our Council and our workforce.
There was a time when we did not have enough female representation on our Board or Council, but in a relatively short period of time have put the necessary measures in place to address this, so change can happen. We have taken some initial steps forward.
Last year I was extremely proud when the LTA became the first organisation to commit to the Sporting Equals Charter, which aims to actively promote greater involvement in sport and physical activity among Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities.
Alongside this, we are also honoured to be an established sponsor of the annual British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards.” Lloyd has asked people to come forward with their experiences and ideas on how to deal with the issue on a wider scale.
“We are asking you to get in touch with us via the form below to share your experiences, opinions and ideas. We will read each and every one of your responses, and what we hear we will use to shape our plans. We may also follow up with some of you to have further discussions.
It is then the commitment of myself, our Chairman, Mervyn Davies, and our President, David Rawlinson that we will put in place the actions needed to effect real change as part of our drive to open tennis up. Several tennis players have been very vocal about racial discrimination during the past couple of weeks, including Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, Coco Gauff and Frances Tiafoe amongst others.