Community Sports: Impact on Young People

Lord Hayward Excerpts
Thursday 16th May 2024

(1 week, 1 day ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Watch Debate Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Lord Hayward Portrait Lord Hayward (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - -

My Lords, this afternoon I am wearing my rugby club tie: Kings Cross Steelers Rugby Club. Given the presence of both the noble Lord, Lord Wood of Anfield, and the noble Lord, Lord Hannett of Everton, I probably should have worn my referee’s tie—although it would have been a different sport, and we would have required more courtesy.

While referring to previous speakers, I also take this opportunity to say that it is an odd thing about this House that there seems to be more experts on electoral law here than at the other end of this building. I have had the good fortune to know the noble Lord, Lord Shamash, for some 20 years. It has been a pleasure and will continue to be so.

I would like to concentrate on the benefits of team sports, which the noble Lord, Lord Hampton, has just referred to. They contribute substantially to the community, in whatever form. Team sports take children, teenagers and young adults away from the family home and should, and often do, provide another form of support network. The younger ones who misbehave should be supported and guided by the older ones. However, on rugby tours I have, on occasion, been amazed and sometimes embarrassed at the behaviour of the older members of the tour, rather than the younger ones. There is no doubt in my mind that, overall, team sports contribute substantially to society at large.

My opening comments related to my own club. I will confine my comments specifically to rugby, but I think they apply elsewhere. I acknowledge wheelchair rugby, women’s rugby and the like. In a week’s time, I will be in Rome celebrating the Bingham Cup. It is the world’s largest gay rugby tournament, and it will be attended by 3,500 people from all over the world. It is named after Mark Bingham, who played for the San Francisco Fog and was one of the people who tried to fight off the terrorists on the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania on 9/11.

There are many teams coming from the United States—from Atlanta, Boston, Philadelphia and New York. It is a truly worldwide competition. But I am pleased to say that we play at different levels. The Kings Cross Steelers firsts and seconds will be defending the relevant trophies which they won two years ago in Ottawa.

When we founded the club, the intention was just to find a convenient home for people who happened to be gay to play rugby. It has gone on to become much more than that, as have all the other clubs for other minority communities, such as people with disabilities and women. I remember first standing on a touchline and being told by a supporter of our club that he thought that, had we not existed, his boyfriend would be dead.

Team sports so often provide support that goes way beyond physical activity. It is about mental health. We have a player, a young guy called Ethan Phillips, who felt alienated from his whole community—and had been in a psychiatric ward aged 17—until he discovered the Kings Cross Steelers. A few years ago, Eammon Ashton-Atkinson, an Australian journalist who came to this country and had been bullied at school, made a film called “Steelers”, which featured three particular players: Nic Evans, our coach, who was female and had played for Wales and been subjected to misogyny in a bad way; Drew McDowell, a black player from the United States who knew all about life’s difficulties because his father was brought up in the deep south; and Simon Jones, a top-flight lawyer for Google who admits that, until he discovered rugby and a gay rugby team, he would curl up on the floor, go into fits of tears and cry for a prolonged period. Team sports can provide an enormous amount of support in such a different way to so many people. As far as I am concerned, sport and physical activity improves all sorts of health, not just physical health.

I will conclude on somewhat happier matters, and revert to the Liverpool/Everton saga that we have heard so much about today. I used to negotiate as management in a bottling plant in Fazakerley for Coca-Cola. This was in the 1970s and I remember there was a match where one of the two Liverpool teams was due to play at Wembley. The shop steward turned the ticket over with pride and said, “Look, we haven’t got a map on our tickets to get to Wembley. The other club needs a map to get there”. I will leave it to the two noble Lords to work out which club he was referring to.

Human Rights: Sportswashing

Lord Hayward Excerpts
Thursday 21st March 2024

(2 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Watch Debate Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Lord Hayward Portrait Lord Hayward (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - -

My Lords, first, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Scriven, on moving this Motion and on the powerful way in which he covered some very important issues, specifically those relating to Bahrain. I will pick up on some matters that other people have commented on and should identify that, as I think the House knows, I am fortunate enough to be the founder chairman of the world’s first gay rugby club. It is worth remembering that, as was pointed out by the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, human rights matters are issues not just in Bahrain but for the disabled, for women and for the LGBT community, in all sorts of different ways.

On the comments of the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, I checked the term “inspiration porn” on my phone and was not confronted by tractors or anything like that. Fortunately, inspiration porn is exactly as she said. However, it is well worth remembering that human rights issues do not apply only to countries in the Middle East, the Far East and to Russia; they apply to all of us, in different ways. Having been the founder chairman of the world’s first gay rugby club, I am fortunate enough to have watched the progress that all gay and lesbian teams have made in this country as they have broken down barriers over the past 30 years. We were an oddity when we were first formed in 1995; now, we are just part of the local leagues and regularly field four teams. There has been a complete change in society and attitudes towards us and our teams, and that is true on a worldwide basis. Sport can change attitudes.

The noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, referred to the growth in awareness of women’s sports. It has been quite sensational. Attendances at league matches have grown so much in a short time. Having said that, I remember having a text exchange with the noble Baroness in the middle of the Commonwealth Games, during the disabled marathon. She commented somewhat ruefully, when progress was being made in other ways, on the lack of participation in some disabled sports over the past decade. They have not grown in the way one hoped they would after the great successes of 2012 and onwards.

Several noble Lords referred to sports governing bodies. We all throw up our hands in despair at the behaviour of the vast majority of them. Some have been shown to be corrupt, while we know that others are just chasing the money in some form or another, but my noble friend Lord Moynihan made an important point: any sports boycott or action is effective only when taken as part of an overall international governmental approach. Otherwise, there is no point in asking sportsmen and sportswomen to boycott.

I remember having a conversation with my noble friend Lord Moynihan and Lord Coe about the 1980 British Olympic team being asked to boycott Moscow at the same time as the Bolshoi Ballet arrived in London. What on earth was the point of saying one thing to one group of people and a totally different thing to another? If we are going to send messages, we have to do it across the whole of society. There have been many references to F1; I am pleased that there is no F1 in Russia now, in part because of the international boycott. It no longer takes place. However, I say to F1 that, like other international bodies, it ought to listen to what is taking place.

There is a difference between the four-yearly Olympics and annual events such as Grands Prix. You can sign a contract for a Grand Prix over four, six or eight years and say, “If you don’t make progress, we’re going to cancel the contract immediately through force majeure. Alternatively, the contract won’t be renewed when it ends”. In the case of the Olympics, it is somewhat different, but the Olympics is awarded many years in advance so the International Olympic Committee should be willing to say, “We’ll award it but we want to see progress at the start of the contract, not at the point when the games take place”. That is absolutely the pinnacle of the event but much can be done beforehand.

There has been reference to sportswashing in events right through from the Berlin Olympics in 1936. It is tragic that the person who designed the first Olympic village, which was in Berlin in 1936, committed suicide two days after the closure of the games because it had been identified that one of his grandparents was Jewish and he would rather commit suicide than face anything thereafter.

I want to touch on one element of sport that has not been referred to this afternoon. The sponsors, such as Coca-Cola, Bridgestone and Visa, have an enormous amount to answer for. If they did not sponsor the events, they would not take place where they were. In conclusion, I really think that everybody should look at sponsorship. I quote the Coca-Cola website:

“Coca Cola has been associated with the Olympic Games since 1928”.


Take note: that is before Berlin, yet it is mentioned with pride. It also says that it gives the

“opportunity to … celebrate with sports fans in … countries”

around the world. What do the Uighurs in China, the lesbian and gay communities in Bahrain, and other oppressed minorities think of that? It is not just about sports organisations or Governments; the sponsors also have a lot of questions to answer.

BBC Funding

Lord Hayward Excerpts
Tuesday 12th December 2023

(5 months, 2 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Watch Debate Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

The whole of the Government are committed to the BBC’s important role as a public service broadcaster. My right honourable friend in her Statement in another place rightly called the BBC “a great British institution” that

“plays a vital role in our culture and creative economy”.—[Official Report, Commons, 7/12/23; col. 514.]

As we look at future funding options, we will look at how public service broadcasting is delivered in other countries, both the ways in which that is done and the pros and cons of those models.

The noble Lord is right to highlight that the BBC plays its role in a globally exceptional way. I have already talked about the more than 360 million people who tune into and rely on the BBC World Service for impartial news and analysis. We should be very proud that it is our national broadcaster that people across the world tune into, and we want to ensure that it is sustainably funded for many decades to come.

Lord Hayward Portrait Lord Hayward (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - -

When considering the financing of the BBC, will my noble friend clearly bear in mind all the issues that have been raised by noble Lords across the House concerning its importance worldwide and its contribution to society in general? However, what concerns me is that the BBC has not looked deeply into other areas to see what can be brought under control. I have typed “apple crumble recipes” on my phone. The first four entries come from the BBC. Why on earth, when the BBC should be providing services worldwide in multilingual circumstances, are we confronted by an organisation that provides food recipes to anyone who wants them and who can get them for free from other sites as well?

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

I did not know there were so many ways to make an apple crumble, but I am sure my noble friend’s was delicious, however he made it. He is right. The BBC is getting more than £3.8 billion, which is a large amount of money, for it to continue to do the important work that it does. It is up to the BBC to decide how it spends its money, but it is right that it makes sure that it is doing so in a way that would delight all licence fee payers.

UK Concussion Guidelines for Grass-roots Sport

Lord Hayward Excerpts
Wednesday 3rd May 2023

(1 year ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Watch Debate Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

The noble Lord is right that this is work that engages other government departments and many institutions in education and healthcare. A range of government departments and representatives from the education sector and medicine have been engaged in the process, and the guidelines will be published through all those channels to make sure that schools, teachers and doctors are aware. As I say, it is for the national governing bodies of each sport to make sure that this baseline guidance is tailored to the specific context and setting of their sport, and we would like to see that built on. It is for them to give any additional messages. The guidance is an essential first step, and fundamental to it is the simple overriding message: if in doubt, sit them out.

Lord Hayward Portrait Lord Hayward (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - -

My Lords, I have returned from a three-day rugby tournament, excellently organised by the Birmingham Bulls, which involved 47 teams participating this weekend. I am interested by the use of the word concussion or brain injury. Can my noble friend clarify why the term concussion is persistently used when, in effect, what we are actually talking about is potential brain injury?

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

I send my congratulations via my noble friend to the Birmingham Bulls and everyone involved in the Union Cup. We have chosen to use the word concussion because it is what is most widely understood. Certainly, as a non-medical and not particularly sport-playing person, it was the term which was most self-evident to me. As we want to get the guidance out to as many people as possible, using layperson’s terms such as that seemed like a good way to do it.

National Women’s Sports

Lord Hayward Excerpts
Thursday 17th November 2022

(1 year, 6 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Watch Debate Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Lord Hayward Portrait Lord Hayward (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - -

My Lords, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Addington, both on obtaining the debate and on his erudite and detailed analysis of the circumstances of women’s team sports over recent years. I intend, as is natural for me—as with the noble Lord—to concentrate on rugby union and leave football to the noble Baroness, Lady Taylor, and others.

I start with the observation that, tomorrow evening, my rugby club, the Kings Cross Steelers, will be celebrating on the Terrace their victory in the worldwide gay tournament, the Bingham Cup. In itself, that victory is not relevant; what is relevant is that we will have three members of the England women’s rugby team present: Shaunagh Brown, Ellie Kildunne and Sadia Kebaya. We are honoured, because their success in recent weeks has caught the attention of the nation. I say to Sarah Hunter, our captain, on behalf of the whole team, not only have you caught our attention but you have gained our respect. We all know how difficult it is to accept defeat—and such a close defeat, at that—but you have gained our complete respect.

Why? When I told my members that we were going to have three members of the England women’s team present, the reaction was a communal, “Wow, that’s great!”. For the first time ever, because of television coverage and the like, the rugby union team has attracted our attention in the same way that the football team has done. Why has it attracted our attention? Let us be honest, with the level of professionalism that we now have—which is rising and can go on rising—the skill levels in team sports have risen. Therefore, nobody dismisses them now and says that it does not matter, or that they are just out there playing rugby union, football, cricket, rugby league or whatever; there is a skill level now available which everybody can and should appreciate.

Along with a number of other Members of both this House and the other place, I had the pleasure of pressing the Government for funding for the women’s Rugby World Cup in 2025. I was pleased that the Government granted that assistance. In Auckland, a week ago, the stadium was full to 40,000—its maximum capacity. The RFU has set a target of filling Twickenham, with a capacity of well over 80,000, for the final in 2025. It is a great target and it should be achieved. It reflects the growing interest in women’s sport that is being displayed across the nations.

As the noble Lord, Lord Addington, said, although we can admire the achievement and the increased professionalisation and skills, we must recognise that it is not a total success story. I served on a committee with the noble Lord, Lord Addington, and the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, and others. We looked at the statistics in relation to activity levels. Among women, those levels are on average 10% below male activity levels, and markedly lower among certain socioeconomic groups and ethnic communities. Those are the people who need to be attracted by the performance of women in team sports to generate an interest on a day-to-day basis at a lower level in sport generally, because role models are not the only solution to achieving participation.

The Politics of Polling (Liaison Committee Report)

Lord Hayward Excerpts
Thursday 19th May 2022

(2 years ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Lord Hayward Portrait Lord Hayward (Con)
- Hansard - -

My Lords, before I start my comments in relation to both the committee and the Liaison Committee’s review, I pay credit to the noble Lord, Lord Lipsey, for his chairmanship. He alluded to his ill health. I think that everybody who was on that committee, and Members of this House who were not, are extremely pleased to see him looking so well in his place in this Chamber. I think we all welcome that.

In relation to polls, we automatically assume that everything is fine as long as the polls got the figures and the direction right in the last general election. The moment the pollsters fail to get the correct party in government, they are blamed for everything, and that is not fair. As the noble Lord, Lord Lipsey, said, there are large numbers of polling companies in operation now. I believe they work incredibly hard. It is in their own interests to produce the right results, because that is what they market to the public at large, but I do not share the confidence of the noble Lord, Lord Lipsey, in relation to the possibility that they might make errors in future. He indicated that they could, but I am not convinced that they are any more or less likely to make an error than they were previously. I say that because of the reason he identified: polling companies have to identify major demographic shifts, such as university education as against age or class, and the changes that have taken place over the last decade.

It is very interesting that the noble Lord referred to Peter Kellner, who in some of his research recently identified that some 50% of the nation’s voters have voted for different parties in the last decade because of the issues of Brexit and the changes in the red wall. Polling companies always tend to be somewhat backward-looking, because they are using how people voted last time by class, age, education or part of the country. Unfortunately, that is rather like fighting a war using the weapons they won with last time around. There is the probability that they will make the same errors again in future, when there is that same demographic shift.

The other aspect that still concerns me—I will come on to a further, small element at the end—is the way polls are reported. Again, I disagree with the noble Lord, Lord Lipsey, that journalists report things well. I am afraid that the pressures to which he referred—to sensationalise—result in a high level of hyperbole being applied to figures in any poll.

Take Ipsos MORI, which this afternoon published a poll saying that this year 31% of people have reduced their expenditure on their holiday plans. When people are asked questions, there is a temptation to give the answers they think they ought to give. Polls try to deal with that issue, and in fact the wording in Ipsos MORI’s question is quite clear—it says “noticeable reductions”. But if one compares that 31%, which produces a dramatic headline if you choose to use it—and all too often the media do use those sorts of figures—does that actually match up with what is happening at the moment?

The other day I listened to Michael O’Leary from Ryanair talking about revenge tourism. I checked just now, having seen this figure from Ipsos MORI. A year ago, his load factors were 67%; he had 1.04 million passengers in April last year. In April 2022 he had 14.24 million people flying on Ryanair, with a load factor of 91%. Does that really match up with the 31%? No—one has to take things in the round.

What worries me is that, when the media present figures from polls, they fail to take things in the round. The tendency is to give two or three questions and then we are on to the next subject. I recognise the pressure that journalists are under from producers and editors, but I wish that the media would look at things in much broader detail, rather than dashing on from one subject to the next, and that they would try to help educate.

In conclusion, I shall pick up one point from the response to the Liaison Committee by the BPC. This is associated in part with my previous comments on the use of figures and concerns where organisations pay for polls which are clearly intended to produce a certain result so that the result can be portrayed to the media, who can then portray it in hyperbolic form. This is not good for anybody. The Library briefing notes that

“The BPC also rejected the suggestion that its members should be obliged to disclose who funded each poll”.


I understand matters of commercial confidentiality; I have been involved in negotiating such agreements, though not in the field of polling. I understand the issue, but it really ought to be clear in every poll—on the can—who has funded it, so that the listener, reader or viewer can clearly understand what the intended message was in the first place. I do not think it does polling, or anybody, any good to be less than open on such matters.

BBC: Dyson Report

Lord Hayward Excerpts
Tuesday 25th May 2021

(3 years ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

We absolutely agree—we want a strong and successful public broadcasting system, and that needs the BBC to be a central part of it. As my right honourable friend the Secretary of State made clear in his recent article in the Times, there will be no knee-jerk reaction.

Lord Hayward Portrait Lord Hayward (Con)
- Hansard - -

My Lords, I welcome the comments made by the ministerial teams in both this House and the other place over the last day or so. I also welcome the announcement by the DCMS Select Committee that it will look at this matter. I therefore call on the BBC to clear the slate, get a move on and make absolutely clear where it admits responsibility, but commit for the future that it will publish the likes of the Balen report and make absolutely clear, when it has people commenting on news items, what their well-known political positions are.

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My noble friend is absolutely right that the BBC needs urgently to demonstrate that the failings to which he refers have been addressed, that they can never happen again, and that trust is restored in a culture of transparency and accountability within the BBC.

Music Festivals: Covid-19-related Cancellations

Lord Hayward Excerpts
Tuesday 27th April 2021

(3 years ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I can only repeat that the Government are not dragging their feet. We have research pilots running in April and May that include an outdoor music festival in Sefton, and these will feed into decisions on step 4 of the road map in June. The evidence that we are gathering is aligned with the dates for the road map, but we cannot anticipate what that evidence will show.

Lord Hayward Portrait Lord Hayward (Con)
- Hansard - -

My Lords, I want to follow on from the question asked by the noble Lord, Lord Bassam, in relation to sporting events in general rather than high-profile ones. There are many lower-profile sporting events that require the booking of hundreds of hotel rooms and other facilities. If they cannot get insurance then those sporting events cannot take place, and they are planned literally years ahead.

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My noble friend is right that the issue of indemnity cover cuts across a range of sectors. The Government have supported the sports sector both by allowing events to take place behind closed doors and through the £600 million sport survival fund.

Grassroots Sporting Fixtures and Facilities

Lord Hayward Excerpts
Monday 11th January 2021

(3 years, 4 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The noble Lord is right. My honourable friend the Minister for Sport has been very clear in his statements about valuing the role of just the people who the noble Lord refers to.

Lord Hayward Portrait Lord Hayward (Con) [V]
- Hansard - -

My Lords, following on from my noble friend Lady Morgan’s Question, given the need for social distancing, minimising sporting physical effort and protecting mental health, can my noble friend clarify why angling and cycling are acceptable as outdoor pastimes but golf is not?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The noble Lord is not alone in his concerns about golf. He will be aware that a petition on that subject will be debated in the other place shortly. However, the answer is that, in the interests of public safety, we are allowing those activities which take place on public rather than private land.

Sport Sector: Financial Support

Lord Hayward Excerpts
Wednesday 25th November 2020

(3 years, 6 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am happy to reassure the noble Baroness and my noble friend Lord Moynihan that I will take the suggestion of a thorough review back to the department, but I reiterate what I said earlier about our constant communication. In terms of the real grass roots, I absolutely echo the noble Baroness’s recognition of the value of those organisations to their communities, particularly during this Covid period, in which they have been setting up food banks and providing all sorts of extraordinary help in their communities. That is also why we committed £220 million earlier this year to make sure that exactly those organisations survive.

Lord Hayward Portrait Lord Hayward (Con) [V]
- Hansard - -

My Lords, I declare my interest, as recorded in the register. May I ask the Minister for clarification in relation to this very welcome news about spectators being allowed back into grounds? Will loans or grants that are given to clubs or organisations be affected by the number of spectators who are allowed into the grounds? Will the decision on numbers allowed in be taken by the Government or in association with the HSE, the Sports Grounds Safety Authority, local police and the like?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

In response to the first part of my noble friend’s question I can say that, as we work through the individual awards with the different sporting bodies, we will take into account their projected revenues. So this is about financial need; it will have some bearing on that. With regard to the planning work we are doing around letting fans back into stadia, we have been working closely with the Sports Grounds Safety Authority and, as I mentioned earlier, the Sports Technology and Innovation Group.