A recent Supreme Court ruling could pave the way for further positive action to promote diversity in senior appointments in sport.

Sporting bodies such as the Football Association and the English Football League have already adopted versions of the “Rooney Rule” (a requirement in the NFL that all teams interview at least one BAME candidate for all senior posts) with the aim of promoting inclusivity in sport. However, the legal framework in the UK restricts how far employers can go to advance diversity initiatives. In recruitment, employers can only give preferential treatment to a candidate from an underrepresented group as a “tie-breaker” when multiple candidates are equally qualified.

The Supreme Court ruling - in which the Court found that it was not unlawful discrimination for a housing association to reserve social housing exclusively for members of a religious community - suggests that the scope for positive action under UK and EU law may be wider than previously thought. Although the decision does not directly apply to recruitment and promotion decisions, it could be used to support a call for a change in the law, which could allow sports organisations to take broader positive action in recruitment.

A full article on the ruling is available here.