Practical guide for board skills and diversity in sports

21 January 2022

Well-governed organisations have, as their controlling mind, boards with the skills and legitimacy to deliver their strategic goals. In their decision-taking, boards must be able to demonstrate that they have benefited from constructive challenge to test propositions put to them to meet the responsibilities and requirements of stewardship placed on them by law.

This short guide provides independent guidance and support to organisations covered by the Code for Sports Governance in the UK. It draws on evidence of best practice from the sports sector, and more broadly from other relevant sectors, to help ensure boards, and their nominations committees, meet the spirit as well as the specific requirements of the Code.

The focus is on action that needs to be taken to make sure boards are established, equipped and developed in a way that meets the expectations of good governance and stands up to scrutiny. Specifically, it sets out a board skills and diversity tool designed to provide practical support to sports organisations of all sizes.

This requires talent on the board, secured from the widest possible pool of skills, expertise and diversity. The board should also meet the test of being able to understand, engage with, and be credible to, the needs and aspirations of its organisation’s main stakeholders.

In short, the advice set out in this guide helps those responsible for board appointments to ensure the board:

  • can demonstrate board members are of sufficient calibre to discharge their duties as directors
  • has the relevant skills and experience to deliver the organisation’s strategic goals
  • is sufficiently diverse to hold credibility with stakeholders, manages risk well by avoiding the potential for groupthink, and meets the diversity requirements of regulators.

The new report and maturity matrix is free to download. If you have any questions or comments, or would like to know how we can help improve your organisation's governance, please call us on 07732 681120 or email

Meet the author: Andrew Corbett-Nolan

Chief Executive

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