PCA Inclusion Champion Abi Sakande will take part in PPF panel on leadership.

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The PCA is supporting the Professional Players Federation’s (PPF) inaugural Inclusion in Sport Week, starting today, Monday 1 July.

Working with members, including the PCA, the PPF will be sharing players’ personal stories, delivering education and promoting best practice to make professional sport more inclusive.

The key focus of the week will be an Inclusion in Sport event at the Kia Oval on Thursday 4 July. One of the PCA’s Inclusion Champions and co-chair of the Association’s EDI Working Group, Abi Sakande, will be part of the Inclusive Leadership Panel.

Attended by player association staff as well as representatives from governing bodies, clubs and leagues, the event will provide an opportunity to hear two cross sport panel discussions on Active Allyship and Inclusive Leadership:

Active Allyship Panel

  • Jason Lee, Senior EDI Education Executive for the Professional Footballers Association
  • Ashton Hewitt, Rugby Player and Chair of Welsh Rugby Players Association
  • Jade Popoola, Loughborough Lightning Netball Player
  • Celia Quansah, England rugby player and Team GB Olympian

Inclusive Leadership Panel

  • Viveen Taylor, Director of Equality Diversity & Inclusion, Sport England
  • Lindsay Gordon, Director of League Managers Association
  • Jatin Patel, Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Rugby Football Union
  • Abi Sakande, Inclusion Champion at Professional Cricketers Association

"It is an opportunity for player associations to learn from each other and share best practice which will benefit all our current and future players."


As well as the panels, Neurodiverse Sport will be running a workshop involving neurodivergent players in a workshop hosted by Neurodiverse Sport in order to help address the lack of understanding around neurodiversity in sport and help sport provide a better experience for neurodivergent players.

Aliyah Zaranyika, a netball player for Saracens Mavericks, who will be attending the workshop said:

“I’m pleased that Neurodiversity in Sport is part of the PPF’s Inclusion In Sport week. Since I was diagnosed with AuDHD in 2022 after struggling with depression and anxiety, I’ve been passionate about raising awareness of the impact of sport on neurodivergence.  It’s important to provide better education on how to make professional sport more inclusive and accessible.”

Throughout the week, the PPF will be sharing a range of ‘Inclusion Insights’ case studies highlighting initiatives and campaigns developed by player associations to support their members. We will also be profiling a number of Diversity & Inclusion Champions who have been leading the way to help educate and break down stigma relating to age, disability, faith, gender, race, religion or sexuality. There will also be an online Inclusive Language workshop delivered by Chris Gibbons from Inside Inclusion.

The PFA’s Director of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Simone Pound and chair of the PPF EDI Committee said: “We are looking forward to working together during the PPF’s first Inclusion in Sport Week to demonstrate the wide range of work that player associations are doing to support and educate players, collaborating with a number of different stakeholders to influence change and ensure all professional athletes feel safe, valued and welcome. It is an opportunity for player associations to learn from each other and share best practice which will benefit all our current and future players.”

PPF Chair, Brendon Batson OBE, said: “Following on from last year’s successful Female Athletes Week, we are looking forward to running our Inclusion in Sport Week. It will be an opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come but also look to the future and ways in which player associations can work together and better support their players, especially those who continue to face discrimination.”