Big sports associations, like the English FA council, mostly contain men. Men who are more interested in the commercial part than the true philosophy behind the association. At least now, we have an exception. Rimla Akhtar is the first Muslim Woman to sit on the Football Association Council. And she bosses it!
Rimla Akhtar is also chair of the Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation. With this organization, she tries to provide opportunities and awareness for women in sport, mostly women from ethnic minority communities. She tries to let these women take part in sporting activities without dishonoring religious and cultural sensitivities.
Rimla Akhtar is an experienced speaker and conference moderator. She has a lot of expertise in inclusion and diversity. Besides that, Akhtar occupies her time by being an qualified chartered accountant while holding a number of positions on the National Race Equality Advisory Group, the Asian and Muslim Women and Girls Working Group and the Referees Diversity Action Group.
It isn’t a coincidence that Akhtar ended up as a big woman in the sport world. During her teenage years, she played cricket for the UK and -in 2005- she was the captain of the British Muslim Women’s football team. Her greatest sign of recognition was when she was given the Community Award at the Sunday Times and the Sky Sport’s Sportswomen of the Year Awards in 2013.
In 2014, Rimla Akhtar had set her goal to tackle the lack of diversity in the football world. Almost every club is run by Caucasian males and the managers are often Caucasian as well. Hence, the boards of the FA council doesn’t contain a lot of females and/or males with an ethnic background. In 2015, Akhtar’s exceptional work championing equality and representation in sport resulted in a new award.
Akthar is a true Scouser and a big fan of the red Merseyside club Liverpool FC. To top her achievements, she is a funny person as well. Her twitter account is a mix of funny reflections and informative statements. Rimla Akhtar is a woman we should all treasure!