Sport leaders converge at London Stadium to deliver Black in Sport Summit 2023

Mike Wedderburn at the Black in Sport Summit.

Alumnus Mike Wedderburn at the Black in Sport Summit. Image: Flynn Duggan.

Leaders from across the sport industry came together on Saturday 25 March to deliver Loughborough University’s student-led initiative the Black in Sport Summit (BISS).

The sold-out event – backed by Europe's leading media and entertainment company, Sky – was hosted at the iconic London Stadium in Stratford and brought together some of the most successful black individuals in sport to inspire and influence delegates.

Co-hosted by Sky Sports News presenter and Loughborough University Board Member, alumnus Mike Wedderburn, the action-packed agenda included panel discussions and exclusive interviews that tackled discrimination and underrepresentation of black people in sport.

Former Premier League footballer Anton Ferdinand began proceedings, delivering a hard-hitting talk that highlighted the issues of racism in football. Anton also discussed his own personal experience of being racially abused while playing professionally.

Seven-time Formula One title winner Lewis Hamilton appeared via a pre-recorded exclusive interview, outlining how he has pledged to create opportunities through non-profit charitable organisation Mission 44 – an organisation that helps young people receive a better education.

In the next session, undefeated professional boxer Richard Riakporhe joined Bobby Kasanga, CEO of Hackney Wick FC, to explain how to turn adversity into opportunity with both guests drawing upon personal challenges from earlier life.

The following panel discussion explored how to ‘advance equity in sports governance’ alongside Leon Mann (interviewer, filmmaker, and founder of the Football Black List and the Black Collective of Media in Sport (BCOMS)), Tony Burnett (CEO of Kick It Out), Lloyd Grose (member of British Cycling's External Advisory Board), Darren Lewis (Assistant Editor at Daily Mirror), and Ama Agbeze MBE (England netball international).

Throughout the day, delegates had the opportunity to network with established sport professionals. This included the ‘Employer Challenge’ segment where individuals could speak directly with business professionals in the industry.

Broadcaster Carina White led a discussion on the importance of allies and advocacy in the sports business, while the final panel discussion of the day, with elite-level athletes Lutalo Muhammad, Imani-Lara Lansiquot, Christian Scotland-Williamson, and Alice Dearing, highlighted the impact of representation on black athletes and social justice activism in sports.

After the event BISS co-founder Ladi Ogunmekan said: “BISS 2023 was nothing short of amazing. Thank you to the incredible hosts, speakers, and delegates for contributing to what was an engaging and insightful day.

“From heartfelt stories to invaluable gems and passionate calls to action, our audience at the London Stadium received the full package.  In 2022, BIS set out to celebrate black achievement in sport and inspire the next generation of sport industry leaders. Our 2023 Summit shows how far we’ve come and we’re not stopping here – keep building up the community."

Alice Dearing holding a microphone and smilingAlumna A‌lice Dearing shared her expertise. Image: Flynn Duggan

Jo Simpson, Commercial and Facilities Director for Loughborough Sport, said: “The Black in Sport Summit was a monumental day for all involved.

“The committee behind BISS demonstrated the power of the student voice to bring together established sport leaders to tackle the very real issue of discrimination against black people in the sector.

“London Stadium provided the perfect venue for galvanising a movement that has tangible benefits. The hosts, speakers, panel members, and delegates were all incredibly engaging as we collectively look to act and make a change.

“Everyone should be incredibly proud of the day, but we also understand this is just the start of something far bigger.”

The BISS team stand together T‌he BISS team. Image: Flynn Duggan 

BISS was launched in 2022 by Loughborough students Ladi Ogunmekan, Samuel Ola, and Emmanuel Shittu in partnership with the University and Loughborough Sport.

For more information and highlights from the 2023 event visit BISS’ social media channels: Instagram, LinkedIn & TikTok: @blackinsport / Twitter: @blackinsport_

Watch a video from the day produced by Neil Akinyemi.