The recent Hope United football match at Seaview (Crusaders Football Club) was an excellent celebration of inclusion and the power of sport to unite people. A fantastic atmosphere from start to finish, the excitement was heightened by the involvement of Rio Ferdinand and many other sporting legends supporting the event. The competitive match saw a fantastic display of talent in both teams involving many ethnicities and genders.

Sport NI was joined at the match by the Ethnic Minority Sports Organisation NI (EMSONI) to highlight their work in tackling racism in sport at a grassroots level, and to connect them into the national campaign.

CEO of Sport NI, Antoinette McKeown, said “I would like to thank Crusaders Football Club, BT Sport and the Rio Ferdinand Foundation for inviting Sport NI to the Hope United game. The event was a fantastic display of talent and diversity in football. Sport NI is committed to tackling racism in sport in Northern Ireland and breaking down barriers across all sports to ensure that everyone is safe and enjoys participating in their sport.

“We are proud to support the Ethnic Minority Sports Organisation Northern Ireland and their drive for diversity and inclusion in sport. Sport NI has developed a Celebrating Diversity Panel to represent and hear the lived experiences, views and creative ideas of under-represented groups; to inform and enhance the work of Sport Northern Ireland and improve the sporting system.

“At the game we also took the opportunity to highlight our recent work in collaboration with the other UK Sports Councils ‘Tackling Racism and Racial Inequality in Sport Review (TRARIIS) and we look forward to building our action plan to address the issues drawn out in the Review’s findings”.

The TRARIIS review involved an extensive analysis, carried out by the Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC) at Sheffield Hallam University, of all publicly available data on race and ethnicity in sport. It also involved an additional piece of work led by AKD Solutions, a Black-led Learning and Development consultancy, to carry out a lived experience research project in which over 300 people across the UK, ranging from grassroots participants to elite athletes and coaches, shared insights into their involvement in sport.

The findings make clear that racism and racial inequalities still exist within sport and that there are longstanding issues, which have resulted in ethnically diverse communities being consistently disadvantaged. The Councils have agreed overarching commitments that all five organisations will work on together ensuring that they are aligned to their individual strategies. These relate to people; representation; investment, systems and insights.

Each Council will now develop their own specific action plans to further deliver on these commitments,

For more information on how Sport NI are tackling racism in sport and enhancing the inclusivity for all in sport please visit the Sport NI website For more information on Hope United and their campaign please visit