Statement: Anna Kessel steps down from Women in Football board

25 May 2020

Statement: Anna Kessel steps down from Women in Football board

Anna Kessel MBE - co-founder of Women in Football is standing down from the board

Anna Kessel has stepped down from the board after 13 years with Women in Football, including five years as Chair.

She will now take up a new role as an Ambassador with us.

Anna, who co-founded Women in Football with Shelley Alexander in 2007, has been a constant driving force as the organisation has grown from a handful of women that met informally to a global network that now boasts just under 4,000 members.

During her 13 years, Anna’s contribution, both leading from the front during her spell as Chair and behind-the-scenes as a board member, has been phenomenal.

Women in Football is now at the forefront of challenging discrimination, encouraging greater visibility for women working in football, and offering support, advice and opportunities to countless women across the industry.

Anna said: “It’s been 14 years since I first thought about trying to create a movement to support women in the football industry; 13 years since Women in Football was formally established. At that time, I was a young reporter in an industry where women were barely visible and often disenfranchised.

"It’s been incredible to see how much has changed since then. I’m very proud that WiF has played a part in that, and it’s thrilling to see how women across the industry, and at all levels of the game, have flourished since.

"I will forever be grateful to the incredible individuals who came together along the way to take WiF from an idea to reality, and now a fully-fledged stakeholder in the game.

"From Shelley Alexander, WiF co-founder whose determination was so instrumental, to early committee and board members Jacqui Oatley, Rebecca Lowe, Joyce Cook, Vikki Orvice, Ruth Shaw, Jo Tongue, Archana Kalyana, Jackie Bass, Simone Pound, Ann Gripper, Gemma Clarke, Jean Bevan, Liz Ellen, Hala Ousta and our chair, Ebru Köksal. All of these women, and many more, gave up their time unconditionally to help make a difference.

"Inequality - from sexual harassment to the gender pay gap - continues to be the reality for too many women. We have come so far, but we have a long way to go before women are treated as equals in this industry.

"The current WiF board is brilliantly equipped to take on these challenges, and with the continued, unwavering support of lead partner Barclays, I leave the organisation safe in the hands of a dedicated and impressive staff - lead by CEO Jane Purdon - and board. I look forward to seeing them keep equality for all women at the forefront of the football industry agenda."

Women in Football chair Ebru Köksal said: “Countless women are grateful for Anna’s vision, courage and determination to change the world of football and sports forever.

"She has been a relentless fighter for equality and sexism, not just during her time as Chair and on the board of Women in Football, but in her professional capacity too.

"From the very start, Anna has remained a voice of reason, a great role model for young girls and women across the world and an inspiring leader.

"I feel lucky and privileged to have worked with her over the years and to call her a great friend.

"We are delighted that Anna will join our other fantastic Ambassadors, ensuring that her expertise and knowledge continues to be shared to the benefit of future generations."

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