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The benefits of good governance in sport

20 June 2024

Our recent report on Sports Governance produced in partnership with Howdens, highlighted the power and benefits of good governance and regulation. 

At Browne Jacobson LLP, we believe that diversity and inclusion are essential components of good governance. We are committed to promoting these values and working with sports clubs and sponsors to improve diversity and inclusion in the industry.

So, it’s with disappointment to read that Thornaby FC has decided to drop its entire women's section.

The club's committee announced that it had voted to continue without its female teams, citing a "difficult year" and "very low" staffing levels as reasons for the decision. This decision has left 100 players without a club and many, including England footballer Beth Mead, have expressed their surprise and anger.

This situation highlights the power sponsors have to drive behaviours that lead to more diverse and highly performing clubs.

Sponsors can set expectations for clubs to create inclusive environments for all players, regardless of gender, race, or background. They can also provide financial support to clubs that demonstrate a commitment to diversity and inclusion. By doing so, sponsors can encourage clubs to take steps towards creating more diverse and inclusive environments for all players.

We offer specialist legal services to both sports clubs and sponsors and can help clubs create policies and procedures that promote diversity and inclusion. Regarding sponsors, we can assist them in developing sponsorship agreements that promote diversity and inclusion and provide legal advice on compliance with relevant regulations. Of course, if required, we can also advise on all aspects of employment law and discrimination issues.

We urge sponsors to use their influence to promote diversity and inclusion in the industry. By doing so, they can help create a more level playing field for all players and promote the growth of the sport. Insurers may also be demanding evidence of the right governance policies in order to provide affordable cover. Clubs that can demonstrate a commitment to diversity and inclusion are likely to be viewed more favourably by insurers and may be able to secure more affordable cover.

We also call on clubs to take note of this situation and work towards creating more inclusive and diverse environments for all players. The women's game is on the up, and it is important that clubs support and encourage the growth of the sport for all players, regardless of gender.

If you are a sports club, or a sponsor, the need to promote and maintain diversity and inclusion is a real and pressing issue, but it doesn’t need to be an insurmountable challenge. We’re here to help, so please get in touch.

Key contacts

Key contacts

Sarah Erwin-Jones


+44 (0)115 976 6136

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Can we help you? Contact Sarah

Rachel Lyne


+44 (0)121 237 4584

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Can we help you? Contact Rachel

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