World’s richest sports league appoints woman to universal acclaim14 November 2018

Inasignificant,perhapsgroundbreaking,moveforwomeninfootballleadershipSusannaDinnagewillbecomethefirstwomantorunthePremierLeagueandanyofthemajorglobalsportsleagues.

Bruce Buck, the chairman of Chelsea FC, who led the selection process, said Dinnage was “the outstanding choice” for the role.

“We are very pleased to appoint such a capable leader to this important role,” said Buck. “We had a very strong field but Susanna was the outstanding choice given her track record in managing complex businesses through transformation and digital disruption.”

Groundbreaking
The move is a landmark moment in women’s sport at operational level and has received acknowledgement and acclaim.

Rob Harris of The Associated Press described the announcement as a move that makes Dinnage “the most powerful female executive in global sports.”

BBC Sports editor Dan Roan wrote that Dinnage will be “the most senior female leader in the world’s major professional leagues because of the commercial wealth, global popularity and cultural influence of the Premier League, arguably the most powerful figure in British sport.”

Fatma Samoura, Secretary General of world governing body FIFA and one of the few women to hold a position of power at the top executive level of world football, wrote “Women around the world are delighted and inspired by your appointment. Now show everyone what women in football can do.”

The move was also welcomed and noted by media outlets from the French left-wing Libération to La Vanguardia in Spain and the high priests of capitalism at the Wall Street Journal.

Glass ceilings
The lack of parity between men and women in football is well-documented.

In 2014 Fare published a report on “The Glass Ceilings in European Football” looking into the levels of representation of visible ethnic minorities and women in leadership positions in European football.

The study showed that only 3.6% of all presidents, vice-presidents and executive committee members at elite level clubs, national leagues, national federations and UEFA are women. Even at executive level (department heads and above) only 10% of leadership positions were held by women.

Dinnage’s appointment is a welcome step in the right direction.