Inside Lines: Walker shows way to hurdle the boardroom's race barrier

Black bosses in British sport are as uncommon as a smile on Arsène Wenger's face, which makes Nigel Walker one of a rare breed. The former Olympic hurdler who changed lanes from one sport to another has now graduated to senior management as the newly appointed national director of the English Institute of Sport, the organisation which helps ensure elite performers can get to their marks in peak condition by providing the best possible back-up facilities including medical, psychological and coaching expertise. Of those currently in sport's corridors of power there are only two black chairmen – and one is ironically named White: Densign White, hubby of Tessa Sanderson and chair of the British Judo Association. Then there is Geoff Thompson, who runs the Youth Charter, while Zara Hyde Peters is chief executive at British Triathlon. And, er, that's it. So why is it that there are so few black faces in the boardrooms of sport? Cardiff-born Walker, 47, who represented Great Britain in the 1984 Olympics, switched to rugby in 1992, winning 17 caps for Wales as a flying wing before becoming head of sport for BBC Wales, says: "It's disappointing. Black players in all sports have to feel that they are given a chance, that it's going to be an even playing field. It's a slow burner and won't change overnight. Black people have to be persuaded that administration is a worthwhile career and one that is open to them. There are now a number of women in prominent positions, rightly so, and there has to be some way of ensuring that those from the ethnic communities are equally represented in future." He reckons that despite recent funding cuts British sport is in "a pretty good position" as 2012 approaches. A few more Nigel Walkers might make it an even better one.

Putin on the style

The decision of Vladimir Putin to join David Cameron and the political powerhouses of the four other nations lobbying Fifa members in Zurich this week suggests Russia are supremely confident that their bid for the 2018 World Cup is in the bag. Bid watchers believe it is unlikely that he would attend if there was a real risk of failure. It was the Russian premier's presence in Guatemala three years ago which clinched the 2014 Winter Olympics for Sochi. There he addressed the meeting in English, and is expected to do the same on Thursday when glad-handing by Prince William and Spain's King Juan Carlos will bring a royal flush to the cheeks of the increasingly grandiose Sepp Blatter.

Now you see it...

The fall-out from Audley Harrison's knock-out continues. The British Boxing Board of Control now want both him and David Haye to appear before them on Wednesday week when their stewards will discuss the controversial ending of the fight and Haye's original statement that he had bet on himself to win in round three. Their attention has been drawn to a video of the heavyweight bout which seems to show Haye nod towards Harrison and mouth the word "now" as he launches his conclusive third-round attack. Conspiracy theorists may suggest this was a pre-arranged signal for his opponent to go down but Haye will probably argue he was warning Harrison that he was "about to get it". Board rules state that purse money can be withheld if it is felt a fighter has not given of his best but Harrison, on holiday in Hawaii, says he will take legal action should his anticipated £1.5m earnings not be paid in full. The Board's annual awards lunch is held in London today and Haye is, so to speak, worth a bet to be named Boxer of the Year.

Gagging for it

Now here's a funny thing. Lee Taylor, for five years a popular communications officer at UK Sport, has quit – to take up comedy scriptwriting. He hopes to produce gags for stand-up comics and pen a satirical TV sit-com. "I love sport but this is a dream I want to follow," says Taylor, 31. Recently he has been working with the UK anti-doping unit so he should be used to taking the pee. Boom boom!

insidelines@independent.co.uk

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Performance Consultant Trainee

£22000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Consultant trainee opportunit...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - (Full marketing mix) - Knutsford

£22000 - £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Knu...

Ashdown Group: Web Developer - ASP.NET, C#, MVC - London

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Web Developer -...

Day In a Page

Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss
Tony Blair joins a strange and exclusive club of political leaders whose careers have been blighted by the Middle East

Blair has joined a strange and exclusive club

A new tomb has just gone up in the Middle East's graveyard of US and British political reputations, says Patrick Cockburn
Election 2015: Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May

Election 2015

Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May
Countdown to the election: Operation Save Danny Alexander shifts into high gear as the SNP target his Commons seat

Operation Save Danny Alexander shifts into high gear

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury didn’t forget his Highland roots in the Budget. But the SNP is after his Commons seat
The US economy is under threat because of its neglected infrastructure

The US is getting frayed at the edges

Public spending on infrastructure is only half of Europe’s, and some say the nation’s very prosperity is threatened, says Rupert Cornwell
Mad Men final episodes: Museum exhibition just part of the hoopla greeting end of 1960s-set TV hit

New Yorkers raise a glass to Mad Men

A museum exhibition is just part of the hoopla greeting the final run of the 1960s-set TV hit
Land speed record: British-built hybrid rocket car aims to be the fastest on Earth

British-built hybrid rocket car aims to be the fastest on Earth

Bloodhound SSC will attempt to set a new standard in South Africa's Kalahari desert
Housebuilders go back to basics by using traditional methods and materials

Housebuilders go back to basics - throwing mud at the wall until it sticks

Traditional materials are ticking all the construction boxes: they are cheap, green – and anyone can use them
Daniel Brühl: 'When you have success abroad, you become a traitor. Envy is very German'

Daniel Brühl: 'Envy is very German'

He's got stick for his golden acting career and for his beloved restaurant - but Daniel Brühl is staying put in Berlin (where at least the grannies love him)
How Leica transformed photography for ever: Celebrating 100 years of the famous camera

Celebrating 100 years of Leica

A new book reveals how this elegant, lightweight box of tricks would transform the way we saw life on the street and in fashion, on the battlefield and across the world