Kelly Simmons MBE recognised at BT Sport Industry Awards

Friday 29 Apr 2016
Kelly Simmons MBE receives her BT Sports Industry Award from Eniola Aluko and Dan Walker

Kelly Simmons MBE, FA Participation and Development Director, received the Leadership in Sport award at the BT Sport Industry Awards 2016 on Thursday.

Simmons, who has been a driving force behind the growth of and participation in the women’s game, was presented the award by England and Chelsea Ladies star Eniola Aluko in front of 1,750 of the sport industry’s most influential figures, organisations and celebrities.

A member of the UEFA Grassroots Panel and the FIFA Women’s Committee and one of the first women on the Senior Management Team at the FA, Simmons is a figurehead for women’s football and has led the sport in its move to a professional game.

Through Simmons’ work, women’s football has seen a huge increase in participation at grass roots level as well as an increase in audiences attending club games and development of commercial and broadcast partnerships. Testament to Simmons’ success in developing the game was the 2015 SSE Women’s FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium, which attracted a record crowd of 30,710.

Simmons said: “It is a real honour for me to receive this award.

“It’s reflective of just how well women’s football is doing in this country and that’s just as much down to the clubs, supporters, coaches, players, broadcasters and sponsors who are all playing a huge part in showcasing and growing this fantastic game.

“I would like to thank the Sport Industry Awards for this and bringing further recognition to the women’s game. The bigger the platform that women’s football has, the more we can inspire young girls to play football and continue the development of our game for years to come.”

Lionesses forward Aluko added: “I am so pleased to see that Kelly has been recognised for her excellent leadership and development of the women’s game.  I’ve been playing for England for more than ten years and in that time the game has change so much and a lot of that is down to Kelly. 

“Women’s football has never been in a better place and under her leadership we now have a thriving game, a league in the FA WSL that would rival any other and an England team that is competing for trophies.  I’d like to congratulate Kelly on this award on behalf of the England team.”

The Leadership in Sport Award, in association with Nolan Partners, was created to recognise the significant need for strong, responsible leadership within sport, rewarding the individuals or organisations who have proven themselves in their chosen field. Previous winners include Sir Keith Mills, Sir Ben Ainslie, Paul Deighton, Sir David Brailsford and Baroness Sue Campbell.

By FA Staff