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Rimla Akhtar

Sports Administrator, United Kingdom

Rimla is a rare individual who has lived global business and elite sport, being ranked 14th in the 2018 Forbes global list of the Most Powerful Women in Sport. She was Chair of the Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation until December 2018, having spent 13 years at the helm. Her leadership, governance and strategy work falls across many organisations, including the FA Council and various Boards within the FA, the Sports Ground Safety Authority Board and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland Council. Rimla has also captained Britain in Futsal competitions. She is Founder of the leading global sport development consultancy, RimJhim Consulting.

 

What is your favourite sport? Football
What drives you? Making a difference in the world while I’m here and doing it through my three loves of faith, community and sport
What was your defining moment to get to where you are now? There have been many moments that have helped me on this journey, however I’d say that the one that opened up the pathway was when I was elected Chair of the Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation.  I hadn’t intended on a career in sport but being Chair opened up opportunities and I gradually realised that my calling was away from the hectic world of finance and in the sport for impact space.
What is your first sporting memory? Playing cricket in the back garden with my brothers – one person batting whilst imagining they’re Inzamam Ul Huq, one fielding and imaging they’re anything but a Pakistani fielder and one person attempting googlies a la Mushtaq “Mushie” Ahmed!
Who is your inspirational woman in sport? There are too many, not just one!  Each for her own power – well-known athletes, including those on this list, to lesser-known personal champions and friends who push me to keep improving, believe in myself and open up the doors to opportunity.  I hope I can do for others what they have done and continue to do for me.
Why is sport important? Sport has the power to change the lives of every individual who engages with it – whether it’s for health, education, or for the sheer love of it, sport means so much to so many people.  I’ve seen the power of sport in my life – the only place where I have felt an equal – and have seen others grow and blossom from accessing their sporting opportunity.  I have seen communities come together through sport who would never have done otherwise and I have seen conflict end, even if temporarily, through it.  We can never underestimate the power of sport.