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Osborne replaces CGF’s Martin on Birmingham 2022 board amid diversity row

Sandra Osborne has replaced Dame Louise Martin on the board of the organising committee for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images for NZOC)

Dame Louise Martin, the president of the Commonwealth Games Federation, has stepped down from the Birmingham 2022 board to be replaced by Sandra Osborne QC, president of the Barbados Olympic and Commonwealth Games Associations, as criticism continues to grow over a lack of diversity among the Games’ organising committee.

At the end of last week, a group of senior political figures from Birmingham – among the UK’s most ethnically diverse cities – called for “urgent action” over the almost exclusively white executive management team and board for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games. 

Council Leader Ian Ward, Birmingham MP Liam Byrne, and Shadow Sport Minister Alison McGovern expressed a desire for some of the board to step down and be replaced by “new voices from the black community”.

Over the weekend, Martin resigned from her role, immediately being replaced by Osborne. As well a being a member of the CGF’s executive board, serving as legal adviser, Osborne also chairs the body’s governance and integrity committee, and the ethics commission of the International Tennis Federation. In 2015, she ran for vice-president of the CGF.

As of Monday morning, Martin remains the only board member to have offered her resignation, but her decision may prompt others to follow suit as the organising committee continues to seek diversification among its senior figures.

A CGF statement said: “The CGF is proud that our organisation reflects the diversity of the Commonwealth Sport Movement and that we have a person of Sandra’s calibre to actively contribute on the Birmingham 2022 Board.

“The CGF supports the renewed commitment of the Birmingham 2022 organising committee to ensure that its governance and management fully reflects the diversity of the city and region.”

It added that despite her resignation, Martin would “continue to play an active role” in the preparations for Birmingham 2022.