Black athletes in the UK have a vital role in communities, Vince Macaulay insists.

One, says the London Lions’ head coach, that has been negatively impacted by Covid and the shuttering of facilities and the lockout at stadia and arenas across the country.

According to “nationally represented research” from the Lions that looked at the role sport plays in being young, black and British in 2021, 28 per cent feel that their sporting role models are often misrepresented in the media.

While 42 per cent don’t feel as if their ethnicity and/or culture is represented by sporting icons around today.

And with a prominent role in a sport where research estimates around 40 per cent of participants in the UK are from non-white backgrounds, there must be opportunities to reach out, Macaulay believes.

“Sport goes well beyond its impact on the pitch or on the court and this research reflects the effect that it has on communities across the UK,” he said.

“Not only do those from a BAME background feel disconnected from the stars they looked up to, but they seem to be the community most in need of this kind guidance and role models.

“2020 was full of sporting icons that went above and beyond, Sir Lewis Hamilton excelled once again and Marcus Rashford’s school meals campaign proved to have a direct influence on government policy.

“Unfortunately while these stars made an impact, the vast majority of communities were disconnected from sport by Covid restrictions. One of our key focuses as a team in 2021 will be to rebuild this relationship with both fans and local people, to offer opportunities and support to all ages, especially under 18s.”

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