8 August 2018
Anna Kessel MBE speaking at Women in Football's 10th Anniversary celebrations at the House of Lords
Anna Kessel, Chair of Women in Football (WiF), has stepped down after 10 years with the organisation, including five years as Chair. Current board member Ebru Köksal, a former UEFA and FIFA Consultant, has been appointed interim Chair.
Anna, who co-founded WiF with Shelley Alexander in 2007, has helped bring about the transformation of Women in Football – from a small group of women meeting informally, to football’s go-to organisation for women in the game, establishing itself at the forefront of challenging discrimination, encouraging greater visibility for women working in football, and offering support to a network that now boasts over 2,500 members.
“It has been an honour to have served as Chair of Women in Football,” said Anna. “It is incredible to think that when we started out 10 years ago the issue of gender equality was barely on football’s agenda. Fast forward a decade and look how far we have come – most recently a whole roster of trailblazing women in the spotlight at the men’s World Cup, and alongside them a far greater recognition of inequality and its ubiquity.
“I want to thank the extraordinary individuals who have supported WiF along the way – as board members, volunteers, ambassadors, staff and members of our network – the generosity of those who have given their time, energy and passion to further our cause is remarkable, and WiF would not be where it is today without them.
“I am extremely proud of what WiF has achieved over the last decade, and with the phenomenal success of our #WhatIf campaign this year it feels like the right time to pass on the baton. With Ebru stepping in as interim Chair, Women in Football is in skilled hands as she shares the vision, passion and determination to continue to make a change."
Interim chair Ebru, former Galatasaray SK CEO and Board Member, will bring a wealth of experience to the role. She has been on the WiF board since October 2015, is the first and only woman to be elected to the Executive Board of ECA and has expertise in leadership, governance as well as the business of football.
Ebru said: “While we will all miss Anna tremendously, we respect her decision and understand her desire to leave at the very top.
“The legacy she leaves is that of a network which has grown under her direction, an organisation that is innovative and has a clear strategic vision and perhaps more than anything, knowing that she has helped make a real change to the landscape over the past decade."
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