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SGSA Chief Executive appointed to lead new football regulator

Martyn Henderson OBE has been appointed to be the interim Chief Operating Officer for the new independent regulator for men’s elite football.

As a result, Martyn will be leaving his current role as Chief Executive of the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) at the end of January 2024.  He has been in the role for over five years.  During his tenure, he has:

  • Introduced licensed ‘safe’ standing in top flight football grounds in England and Wales.
  • Supported the football industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, including as leader of the Government’s Events Research Programme, which oversaw the safe return of live events, for which he was awarded an OBE.
  • Guided the SGSA through its first independent review, which found that the SGSA “is seen nationally and internationally as a centre of excellence on sports ground safety, that punches well above its weight”.

Commenting on his appointment, Martyn said:

“I am thrilled to have this opportunity to help establish the new regulator for football. As Chief Executive of the SGSA, I have worked with fans and the industry to introduce safe standing and to help the game recover following the pandemic. 

I look forward to taking the same partnership approach to improving the governance and financial stability of football.”

Martyn is the first appointment to establish the new independent regulator for men’s elite football, which will be tasked with improving the way clubs are financially and operationally run. Further appointments will be announced in due course.

Derek Wilson, Chair of the SGSA Board, said:

“Martyn is an outstanding appointment for the new regulator.  Over the last five years, he has led the transformation of the SGSA.  He has achieved this through his positive attitude, dedication and expertise in partnership-working.

I am exceedingly grateful for the positive impact Martyn has had on the SGSA, and safety at sports grounds more widely. I look forward to seeing how he uses his skills and influence to introduce this important change to the football industry.”

Ken Scott MBE, the current Head of Inspectorate, will become Interim Chief Executive on Martyn’s departure.  A recruitment exercise has commenced to find a permanent replacement.



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