The SGSA welcome two new members to its Board

The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, Karen Bradley has appointed Dr Rimla Akhtar MBE and Janet Johnson as Board Members of the Sports Grounds Safety Authority for 3 years from 10th October 2017.  

Dr Rimla Akhtar MBE is a developer, communicator and strategist best known for her work as an Inclusion and Diversity specialist in sport, which led to her being ranked 15th in the 2015 list of The Independent’s Most Influential Women in Sport.


Rimla became the first Muslim and Asian woman on the FA Council in 2014, in addition to her role on the Inclusion Advisory Board at the FA, and in 2015 was awarded an MBE for her contribution to equality and diversity in sport. 

New SGSA Board member Rimla Akhtar

Rimla has over 17 years’ experience in the sports industry across the UK, Middle East and Asia as well as a number of accolades to her name, including most recently the Sky Sports and Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year Community Award in 2013. 

Her strategic and boardroom roles include being Independent Director and Trustee of Kick It Out, and Council Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland.

Janet Johnson is a chartered town planner by background, having specialised in regeneration and economic development in the North East of England. In a local government career spanning almost 40 years, Janet has enjoyed senior management positions for a number of councils. 

New SGSA Board Member Janet Johnson

She is an experienced board member, having served on the boards of a number of organisations in the education and development sectors. In addition to being a specialist in regeneration Janet is experienced in modernising local government, managing change and driving service improvement.

Janet was Chief Executive of District of Easington Council from 2004 to 2009 before moving to Sunderland City Council as Deputy Chief Executive where she led the Council’s major regeneration programme.

Sports Grounds Safety Authority Chair, Alan Coppin said "I am delighted to welcome Dr Rimla Akhtar and Janet Johnson to the Board. The importance of sports grounds safety remains a critical issue as the nature and scale of issues affecting sports grounds is changing. We must all adapt and respond to the shifting environment to ensure people can continue to be safe in sports grounds.

“The Board plays an essential role in providing robust governance and strategic oversight. Rimla and Janet bring a wealth of experience and a fresh perspective as we build on our 5 year strategy. I am very much looking forward to working them to the board."