Changes are happening – Vince Macaulay hails ‘terrific advance’ towards equality

·3-min read

London Lions head coach Vince Macaulay hopes the continued drive for equality in sport can help give the next generation from ethnic minority communities the confidence to pursue their own ambitions to take leadership roles.

Research commissioned by the Lions revealed that 39 per cent of those surveyed feel there are not enough role models in sport management for them to look up to, which rises to 50 per cent within those from ethnic minorities.

Part of the study, which was across a nationally representative cohort of 2,086 respondents, also showed 21 per cent would like to work in the field of sport management, but have no support to do so – either professionally or in their community, a figure which rises to 38 per cent among ethnic minority groups.

Macaulay, who made the transition from player to team owner and head coach, believes there have been positive changes in recent years which gives genuine hope of sustained progress, even if there is still work to do.

“If you take a step back and look away from our sport, and look at some of the new presenter shuffles that they have done with football, you have got better representation now,” Macaulay told the PA news agency.

“When you look at some of the female presenters within sport, that has been a terrific advance, so these changes are happening.

“We would all like them to happen a lot quicker, but obviously everyone has to be deserving of everything. It is going to take a while, we just have to make sure we speak about it.

“Now the discussion is on the table, so that is a huge move forward. In terms of pathways and opportunities, I think they are there.

“With the work we (at the Lions) do in schools and visiting community groups, it is about letting the youngsters know that anything you want is there for you, whether it is from an employment or sport point of view.”

Liverpool-born Macaulay, 60, played for Brixton TopCats, Tower Hamlets and the later rebranded London Towers as well as Hemel Royals before going on to acquire the franchise, then based in Watford, and overseeing a relocation to Milton Keynes as the new-look Lions in 1998.

Macaulay also had a spell as chair of the British Basketball League, before moving into a new dual role by becoming head coach of the Lions as well as their owner.

In 2012, the Lions moved to London and eventually made their new home at the Copper Box Arena on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Having stepped back from his courtside role, Macaulay resumed coaching duties again during the 2017-18 campaign, guiding the club to domestic success as well as into European competition.

Macaulay feels those many different challenges show the drive for equality across all roles must remain in sharp focus.

“It wasn’t until I was a team owner for almost 25 years that I realised I had been the only black owner,” said Macaulay, whose team continue their FIBA Europe Cup campaign with December away fixtures at Bahcesehir Koleji in Turkey and Russian outfit Avtodor Saratov.

“What I perceived as just doing my job, what I believed in, I realised in the end was actually fighting against a lot of stereotypes.

“I had to battle through to what I thought was an acceptable position for clubs to be in, to look after players and fans, giving people opportunities.

“I did not realise we were breaking new ground with those kind of things.”

Macaulay added: “When you look around at the football managers or the basketball coaches – is that the best representation of what we see on the field? And if it isn’t, then why isn’t it?”

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