Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games – diversity with 19 of 20 white leaders


The 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham are at the center of a row of diversity because their entire £ 1m management team is white. All but one member of the board is also white, angering equality advocates.

They say that the lack of diversity at the top of the High Level Games is symbolic of “systemic racism” at the heart of urban life, with very few positions of power held by Blacks or Asians although they represent close to the half the population of Birmingham.

Anita Bhalla, who chaired a steering committee that investigated the issue on behalf of Mayor Andy Street two years ago, said she was “sick and tired” of having the same conversations about ” lack of representation at the top of city organizations.

“We were talking about it three decades ago,” she said.

“To say that there are no blacks or Asians capable of holding these executive positions is a slap in the face.

Anita Bhalla, President of Andy Street and the Leadership Commission.

“We have to go beyond the rhetoric and see the action – we can’t wait for the end of the Games, and more years go by, to think, analyze and say that we have to do better.

“If we can’t do it right here in Birmingham, in a city like ours, where we have so much talent, where are we going to do it right?” “

The 2022 management team, made up of seven people, paid from £ 125,000 to £ 175,000, was recruited and registered last year to lead the vision and realization of the Games.

Joy Warmington, CEO of Birmingham, based on equality and human rights charity, said that the city had not taken the opportunity to make a profound statement on equal opportunities around its leadership games.

“It looks like we have fallen back on tried and tested people in management circles, those who we think would be a pair of safe hands, who tend to be white, and especially white men,” said he declared.

“The city likes to pretend that it stands for diversity and equality, but it’s superficial. She wants to be transformative but she will not go through the pain that it implies to get there. “

Joy Warmington, CEO of Brap.

She added, “Most organizations in the city look like Guinness – the top layer is white, with black underneath. I am a brummie, born and raised, and I am proud of this city, we have so much talent and dynamism, but we seem determined to maintain the status quo. ”

She said she had “real concerns” that people in existing leadership positions seem incapable of “seeing or recognizing the layers of institutional racism at play” that linked the Windrush scandal, the inequalities around the impact of Covid-19 on the poorest and on people. of color and choice of leadership at the top of public sector organizations.

But she added that the Games management still had the opportunity to better reflect the diversity in its choice of partners, thanks to supply opportunities and staff recruitment.

Community activist Rev Desmond Jaddoo called the lack of diversity at the top of the Games a symbol of Birmingham “a racist city”.

In light of the Black Lives Matter movement and in the shadow of the Windrush scandal, it is exasperating that the flagship Commonwealth Games are almost completely devoid of people of color in high-level positions, he said.

At Birmingham 2022, the seven senior executives were filled with white people – five men and two women.

They are supported by a 13-member board of directors, made up of seven white men, five white women and a black man, including several designated representatives from partner organizations.

The group includes two Ladies and five Royal Empire honors.

In general, Reverend Dr. Jaddoo said, “There have been commissions, reports, inquiries and promises of action, but there is still apartheid in our city.

“Birmingham is one of the youngest and most diverse cities in the country – we are on the verge of a predominantly black, Asian and ethnic minority population.

“And these are the Commonwealth Games, celebrating the Commonwealth nations.

“It is just a weak excuse to say when recruiting to these senior positions that they have chosen the best for each job, suggesting that there was literally no one who was judged good enough who was not white.

“Sometimes it feels like we haven’t moved at all since 2001, when this city was rightly labeled as a systemic racist by the Stephen Stephen Commission in Birmingham.

“Where is the advantage of hosting these Games for the black and Asian populations of our city? Our communities are asking for investment and help, inequality is evident through the coronavirus pandemic.

“Again, this does not demonstrate any commitment to thoughtful governance, or to being fully representative and diverse. ”

BirminghamLive looked at the composition of the leadership of the city’s main public sector organizations after a young activist and city council worker Atif Ali pointed out the lack of diversity in two of them.

He called the management of the Birmingham City Council and the Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group for failing to better represent black, Asian and other ethnic minority residents, who represent 42%, and the increase in the city’s population.

Perry Barr MP Khalid Mahmood, in the constituency of the main athletics stadium and the Games Village, said, “I have a good working relationship with Birmingham 2022, which I know is is committed to hosting Commonwealth Games that will represent Birmingham, including all of its diversity which we can all be proud of.

“With more than two years and their workforce expected to increase significantly by 2022, there is much work to be done for them and for public bodies. ”

In a statement, Ian Reid, President and CEO of Birmingham 2022, said: “The vision for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games is to be” Games for all “- we are aware of our responsibilities and we want to make it a reality. ”

He said the people appointed to the top positions were “best senior practitioners” who were “recruited through an open public recruitment process to deliver world-class games in record time.”

A Benefits and Inheritance Committee has also been established to advise the Board of Directors to ensure that the city and region “maximize the benefits” of hosting the Games and ensure a lasting legacy.

Who is the senior team running the 2022 Commonwealth Games?


Ian Reid, managing director of Birmingham 2022

General Manager Ian Reid: He was financial director and company secretary for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, and former commercial finance director for AG Barr plc and chief financial planner for the Glasgow Housing Association. Wage £ 175-180,000

Josie Stevens

Josie Stevens, Head of Marketing and Communications: She led the first phase of the This Girl Can campaign, which was awarded several times by Sport England; and spent three years in the United States as Director of Global Public Relations for the adidas group’s Reebok brand. She worked at five Olympic Games, three Cricket World Cups and the 2006 Asian Games in Doha.

Martin Green

Creative Director Martin Green: He organized some of Britain’s most important major events, including the opening of The 02 in London; the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic opening and closing ceremonies and the 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ opening ceremony in Leeds.

Caroline McGrory

General counsel Caroline McGrory: Her experience is in Formula 1 – she was legal director of the BAR racing team, worked for the Mercedes F1 Team and was general counsel for Leicester City FC.

Charles Quelch

Executive Director of Operations Charles Quelch: He has almost 30 years of experience in sports operations, was stadium manager for the London 2012 Olympic Games and venue manager for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 and Gold Coast in 2018.

He is one of two members of the management team employed by CGF Partnerships, a company jointly owned by the Commonwealth Games Federation and SportFive. The other is CIO Adrian Corcoran.

David Grady

Financial Director David Grady: A chartered accountant who was previously director of corporate services for Central Co-Op.

Adrian Corcoran

CIO Adrian Corcoran: Responsible for all IT needed to support the planning, delivery and operation of the Games at all venues. He is also responsible for the planning and delivery of dissemination operations.


John Crabtree

Chairman of the Board of Directors John Crabtree OBE: Appointed by the Prime Minister, then Theresa May, to direct the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Former President of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry and West Midlands Businessman of the Year.

Ian Ward

The head of Birmingham city council, Ian Ward

David Grevemberg

David Grevemberg CBE, Director General of the Commonwealth Games Federation

Dame Louise Martin

Commonwealth Games Federation President Dame Louise Martin

Helen Judge

Helen Judge, Director General of the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)

Dame Julie Moore

Dame Julie Moore, also representing DCMS

Ian Metcalfe

Ian Metcalfe, President of the Commonwealth Games in England

Simon Ball

Simon Ball, a non-executive director on the board of the Commonwealth Games in England

Derrick Anderson

Derrick Anderson CBE, representing the West Midlands Combined Authority


Ellie Simmonds

Ellie Simmonds OBE, Paralympic swimmer

Lyndsey Jackson

Lyndsey Jackson, who is assistant general manager of Edinburgh Fringe

Nick Timothy

Nick Timothy CBE, former special advisor to Prime Minister Theresa May

Jonathan Browning

Jonathan Browning, who chairs Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

The board of directors is not remunerated but receives reasonable travel expenses. President John Crabtree is entitled to compensation but has chosen to forgo it.

Birmingham Declaration 2022 in its entirety

Ian Reid, Managing Director, said: “The vision for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games 2022 is to become” Games for all “- we are aware of our responsibilities and we want to make it happen.

“As a company, we are still establishing ourselves and we continue to recruit at high speed. Over the next two years, our workforce will increase tenfold and we are committed to ensuring that our workforce reflects the city and region in which we operate.

“We are already taking steps to improve representation and ensure equal opportunities for all. At the end of 2019, we started working for the Leaders In Diversity accreditation with an action plan to get there by the end of 2020.

CGI on the appearance of Alexander Stadium for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham
CGI on the appearance of Alexander Stadium for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham

“We created an internal equality, diversity and inclusion working group in February and its mandate is to challenge, improve and further develop this action plan. We work with our recruiting partner to ensure that each vacant position reaches the widest talent pool.

“We have recruited five prominent and knowledgeable community representatives to our Legacy and Benefits board subcommittee to ensure we have a wide range of perspectives, experience and expertise around the table. We’re also looking at board representation with our Games partners, all of whom have a seat at this table.


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“Our management team (EMT) is made up of experienced practitioners who are among the best in their category, all experts in their field and highly experienced in the organization of major events, which is vital because Birmingham 2022 has less than half the planning time for other Games.

“They were all recruited through an open public recruitment process to deliver world-class games in record time.

In July 2022, Birmingham will host the XXII Commonwealth Games, the largest multi-sport event to be held in England for ten years since the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Some 6,500 athletes and team officials from 71 Commonwealth nations and territories will come together to celebrate sport, culture and business.


Birmingham 2022 says the event “will entertain more than one million ticket spectators and reach a global broadcast audience of more than one billion”.

More than 1,000 jobs were created before the Games.

Construction of the Perry Barr Athletes Village is underway, while the sports program is finalized.

“Our EMT is currently exploring ways to make senior management decision-making more representative and fully committed to ensuring that our growing workforce is representative of the city and region hosting the Games.

“We know there is still much to do and we continue to actively reflect on how we will make a significant contribution to equality, inclusion and diversity over the next two years. We have always been fully aware that in these Games we have a powerful platform that brings both responsibility and opportunity and we are committed to taking them on. “


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