Judges

Confirmed so far

Joanna Adams

Joanna Adams

CEO, England Netball

Bio

The Chief Executive of England Netball, Joanna Adams, is responsible for the strategic plan of the sport across the country. Joanna became involved in netball more than eight years ago having originally joined the organisation as Commercial Director.

With more than 20+ years of experience working with brands, rights holders and the media, Joanna is one of the most highly regarded and innovative Chief Executives in British sport.

Under Joanna’s strong leadership, England Netball secured the rights to host the Netball World Cup 2019 in Liverpool and has seen record growth in the company’s participation programmes, sponsorship deals and ticket revenue. Joanna was a part of the team in 2018 that was pivotal in the England squad’s historic win at the Commonwealth Games, which has since inspired thousands of women to take up the sport. Under her guidance, netball has proudly become the fastest growing female team sport in the country.

Cherry Alexander

Cherry Alexander

Major Events Director, British Athletics

Bio

Since the 1980’s Cherry has built a reputation for dedicating herself to athletics, working with thousands of athletes and volunteers alike to ensure athletics events across the length and breadth of the country run smoothly.

Alexander’s first job at Nike UK was working under the leadership of Brendan Foster and organising the first years of the Great North Run.

Cherry has been involved in athletics for over 37 years, and has been instrumental in the success of British Athletics Major Events over the last two decades, working across a multitude of domestic and international competitions. She played a significant part in the athletics competition delivery during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Cherry received an MBE at the end of that year for services to sport and is a previous winner of the Sunday Times Sportswomen of the year ‘Unsung Hero’ Award.

Her biggest success has undoubtedly been in delivering numerous major events on British soil and in playing a leading role in the best-ever staging of the IAAF World Championships and World Para Athletics Championships in London in 2017.

In November 2017 Cherry was awarded the IAAF Woman of the Year title,  and continued to deliver excellence for the world governing body helping ensure the successful staging of the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham in March 2018.

Philip Bernie

Philip Bernie

Head of BBC TV Sport

Bio

Philip Bernie is the Head of BBC TV Sport – responsible for all TV Sport output on the BBC.

Philip joined the BBC in 1984 as a Production Trainee after leaving university. He became an Assistant Producer on Grandstand, later becoming Editor of Football Focus and then Match Of The Day. He has also been Assistant Editor and then Editor of Grandstand.

He was Editor of Sports Personality Of The Year from 1999 to 2005, during which time he won a Royal Television Society Award for the show.

He was Editor on the Olympic Games from 1992 to 2004, and on the Commonwealth Games from 1994 to 2002.

He was Editor of the World Cup in 1990 and 1994 as well as Euro 96, and was Executive Producer of the World Cup in 2002.

He was Editor of Wimbledon from 2003 to 2007 and founding Editor of both the BBC One series On Side and the BBC Two series Match Of The Day 2.

Prior to his current role, Philip was Head of Programmes and Planning in BBC TV Sport from 2005 to 2007 and then Head of TV Sport Editorial from 2007 to 2009.

Before joining TV Sport in 1987, Philip worked in various areas of the BBC including spending a year in Radio Sport and a year at the Breakfast Time TV programme.

Nick Bitel

Nick Bitel

Chairman, Sport England

Bio

Nick Bitel has been the Chief Executive of the London Marathon Events since July 1995 which, as well as staging the iconic London Marathon, also puts on the world’s largest cycling festival, RideLondon.

Since 2013 Nick has also been the Chair of Sport England and continues to act as consultant at Kerman & Co Solicitors.

As a lawyer, he has represented a number of leading sports events and organisations including The Wimbledon Championships, Ryder Cup, PGA European Tour, UEFA, Rugby Football Union and the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Nick is also currently a Board Member of UK Sport and was previously a Board Member of the London Legacy Development Corporation.

He is a previous Chair of the Sports Rights Owners Coalition and of the British Association for Sport and Law.

Paul Blanchard

Paul Blanchard

CEO, Commonwealth Games England

Bio

Paul Blanchard is the Chief Executive of Commonwealth Games England, the organisation responsible for leading and managing the participation of Team England at the Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth Youth Games. The next Commonwealth Games in 2022 will be hosted in Birmingham.

With a career spanning more than 25 years in the sports industry, Paul has extensive experience of working for some of the country’s best known organisations, including the Scottish Premier League, the NFL, Southampton FC,  Harlequins Rugby League and The Oval. Prior to joining Commonwealth Games England, Paul was the Chief Executive of the Surrey Sports Park, an elite training and event facility based at the University of Surrey. He was also Chair of Active Surrey, the county sports partnership.

Lawrence Dallaglio

Lawrence Dallaglio

Former England Rugby Player

Bio

Lawrence Bruno Nero Dallaglio OBE is one of the true icons of British sport and one of the outstanding and compelling figures in England Rugby history.

Regarded as one of the world’s greatest ever back row forwards Lawrence achieved everything there is to achieve in Rugby for both club and country.

Lawrence is immensely proud to have captained his country during an England career that saw him capped 85 times. He won the inaugural Rugby World Cup 7s in 1993 and of course, the 2003 Rugby World Cup, where he was the only player to play in every minute of every match during England’s successful campaign in Australia. This achievement also made Lawrence one of only two northern hemisphere players to hold world cup winners medals in both the 7s and 15 man game. He also played on three British and Irish Lions Tours winning a series in South Africa in 1997.

Lawrence was a one club man and from joining London Wasps in 1990 to his retirement in 2008 he had a stellar career with the London Club captaining them to Victory in 5 Premiership titles, 3 League Cups and 3 European trophies. He now sits on their Board.

Since retiring from rugby Lawrence has established a number of business and commercial relationships. He launched a Sports Marketing Agency – BBH Sport; delivering strategy, creative and execution for a variety of clients including England 2015, LTA, RFU, Samsung and Adidas. He is also an ambassador of Land Rover Globally.

In addition to his commercial relationships, Lawrence also undertakes an impressive measure of charity work under the umbrella of his own charity Dallaglio RugbyWorks. RugbyWorks through its social inclusion works with teenagers who have been excluded from mainstream education, on a long term development programme that aims to get them into sustained education, employment or training.

In March 2013, Lawrence signed with BT Sport to become the leading rugby union expert. Lawrence’s venture began with BT Sport’s exclusive coverage of up to 69 live matches a season from the Aviva Premiership. He features both as a BT Sport co-commentator for some live matches and studio pundit for other live clashes.

He is also a well-respected columnist for The Sunday Times.

Lawrence’s outstanding achievements were recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, where he was awarded an MBE (2004) and an OBE (2008).

A keen Chelsea supporter he lives in Richmond, West London and is married to Alice. They have three children – Ella, Josie and Enzo.

Mark Davies

Mark Davies

Chair and CEO, British Rowing

Bio

Mark Davies was appointed Chairman of British Rowing in March 2018.

Davies began his career in the City with JPMorgan, before moving on to spend five years working in media – broadcasting and producing for BBC Sport on Radio Five Live and News24, and writing about cricket and rowing for the Daily Telegraph.

He became part of the team that set up and launched Betfair, the sports betting company, in June 2000, and he spent the next decade as the public face of that business, working with Governments and sports bodies round the world.

Davies has been a Trustee of SportsAid since 2011, and on the Board of Archery GB, which he chairs, since 2015. A volunteer in a number of sectors, he is chairing an Onside Youth Zones project to build a state-of-the-art facility for underprivileged children in Hammersmith, and is a Governor of Holyport College, a state boarding school in Berkshire.

Niels de Vos

Niels de Vos

Executive Director, 2021 IAAF World Athletics Championships

Bio

Niels has nearly twenty years experience in the Sports Business, stretching back to 1999 when he joined the Organising Committee of the Manchester Commonwealth Games as Commercial Director, responsible for ticketing, broadcast, marketing and the cultural festival.  The huge success of 2002 is popularly seen as a watershed moment for the UK, leading to an unrivalled few decades of hosting many of the world’s biggest events, including London 2012.

After a stint as CEO of Premiership Rugby Club Sale Sharks, whom he guided to the Championship Trophy in 2006, Niels joined UK Athletics.  In his ten years there he oversaw a dramatic upturn in the results of the GB team, including record medal performances in both Olympic and Paralympics, with the GB team now a regular top 5 performer on the global stage making it one of our most successful sports.  Niels also instigated an aggressive plan to bid for, and run, international events as a means to drive revenue and awareness in the UK.  Since 2007 UKA has hosted 2 European indoor championships, one world indoor championships, 2 world half marathons, the European team championships and, in 2017, the first ever joint hosting of the IAAF and IPC World Athletics Championships.

In Sept 2017 Niels left UKA to set up FABRIC GROUP Ltd – a specialist consultancy advising businesses, federations, cities and governments invest in their communities through sport, the arts and charity.  He is currently retained by the Board of USA 2021 World Atheltics Championships to provide strategic planning advice and Board assurance.

Jon Dutton

Jon Dutton

Chief Executive, Rugby League World Cup 2021

Bio

Having led England’s successful bid to host the 2021 Rugby League World Cup, Jon was appointed Chief Executive of the tournament; leaving his position as Rugby Football League Director of Projects and People.

A sports management graduate with over 20 years’ experience in the sports industry. Jon has previously worked for the PGA European Golf Tour, Manchester FA (with a secondment to UEFA) and ran his own sports consultancy company. Jon was the Operations Director for Rugby League World Cup 2013, Director of Readiness for the Tour de France Grand Depart in 2014 and Tournament Director for the Ladbrokes Four Nations tournament in 2016. In 2017 Jon was the International Federation Tournament Commissioner for the Rugby League World Cup in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

Jon is also a member of UK Sports Major Events Panel, a specialist advisory body. Its main purpose is to represent the interests of UK Sport by making major event investment recommendations to the UK Sport Board.

Alex Gough

Alex Gough

CEO Professional Squash Association (PSA)

Bio

The PSA is responsible for the organisation and coordination of the official international men’s squash circuit, called the PSA World Tour.

Alex first joined the organisation as a Board Director in 2002 when he was still an active squash professional on the tour. Shortly after his retirement as a player, Alex became the COO of PSA in June 2008, dedicating his time to furthering the growth of the sport that has played such an important role in his life. In February 2009 Alex was appointed CEO of PSA.

As a player, Alex was on the professional squash circuit for 15 years. He was ranked in the world’s top ten for over 28 months and achieved his highest world ranking of 5 in July 1998. During his career he won a total of 10 World Tour titles and a Bronze Medal in the men’s singles event at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur. He also represented Wales well over 150 times, the highlight being when Wales narrowly missed out to Egypt in the final of the World Team Championships in 1999 after beating England in the semi-finals.

Alex also holds a 1st Class Honors degree in Mathematics from the University of Wales in Cardiff.

Richard Hills

Richard Hills

2018 Ryder Cup Managing Director

Bio

Richard joined the European Tour in 1983 having worked previously with a sports promotion agency. He worked across all of the Tour’s departments before being appointed Ryder Cup Director in 1993. As Ryder Cup Managing Director, Richard orchestrated and held ultimate responsibility for successful Ryder Cup Matches in Europe and the USA culminating in the largest ever staging in Paris with a total attendance of 300,000 and the now famous ‘First Tee’ grandstand.

Possessing a depth of experience drawn from key involvement in the evolution and development of the European Tour and the Ryder Cup, Richard is a highly experienced and respected figure within the sporting world.

Andy Hunt

Andy Hunt

CEO, World Sailing

Bio

Andy Hunt is the CEO of World Sailing, having taken the helm of the International Federation in early 2016. With a lifelong passion for sailing and sport, Andy is the former CEO of the British Olympic Association and Chef de Mission for Team GB which achieved its best performance in 104 years at the London 2012 Games.  Hunt was a non-executive Director of the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games and is currently a non-executive Director of England Hockey and Gloucester Rugby and has had a highly successful career across both sport and business over the past 30 years.
Colin Jackson

Colin Jackson

World, Commonwealth and European champion hurdler

Bio

Before retiring in 2003, Colin Jackson was an outdoor World Record holder for 13 years and still holds the World Indoor 60m Hurdles title. Bursting onto the scene, setting a European junior record of 13.44 in 1986, Colin ranked in the world top 10 for 16 years, and for the last 7 of his career, he was never out of the top 3.

Colin has been an integral part of the BBC Athletics coverage since the Athens Olympics, covering every major event, including the London 2012 Olympics and most recently the Rio Olympics. Since retiring from athletics, Colin has expanded his role in TV by co-hosting the BBC1 live morning show Sunday Life, as well as dazzling us all with his dancing skills on Strictly Come Dancing. More recently Colin has appeared on ITV1′s Dancing on Ice Goes Gold, the BBC’s 24 Hours in the Past and ITV’s Drive, alongside the likes of Louis Walsh, Johnny Vegas and Ella Eyre.

2013 saw Colin launch his own mass participation event, Go Dad Run, to raise awareness of men’s health issues. After the success of the inaugural event, the last four years have seen the race expand to venues nationwide and to date, thousands of men have come together to help the cause. Colin has also joined forces with the Wings for Life World Run campaign, as an Ambassador and Global Race Director.

Phil Jones

Phil Jones

Founder & Organiser www.sportspodge.co.uk

Bio

Twitter: @denislaw    @podgeevents

Phil has a background in design and digital and was chosen by BIMA to be inaugurated in the Digital Hall of Fame for his contribution to digital transformation over the previous decade

The digital world couldn’t be further away from Phil’s 5-year apprenticeship as a hot-metal compositor and his founding of typography specialists APT, which he grew to 100 staff during the 80’s before successfully selling the business to a top ad agency.  Phil then became MD of Real Time Studio in 1991 and grew a digital team to 100, becoming one of the leading digital agencies in the UK before successfully merging with DM agencies EHS and Brann, where Phil became Vice Chairman of the 350 strong agency.

Amongst his design and digital highlights was a ten year online relationship with www.Diesel.com, and creating the first ever website for Canon UK and Canon Europe and the online launches of the new MINI, the first Premier League and Sport England websites, and the launch of England Fans for the Football Association. His team also created the identities for UK Sport, UK Athletics, The British Tourist Authority and the FA’s bid to host the 2006 World Cup along the way.

Phil formed his own consultancy www.realtime.co.uk in 2004 to allow him to act as an advisor and mentor for creative, sports and digital businesses. It was back in 1994 that Phil founded the now famous podge lunches: Design, Digital, Sport & Music gatherings – now on www.podgeevents.com.  The annual Sports Podge lunch is now 13 years old and many of this year’s judges are regular attendees at www.sportspodge.co.uk.

Phil is married to Babs, has two children and two beautiful grandchildren.

Chester King

Chester King

CEO, British Esports Association

Bio

Chester King is a co-owner of the International Group of companies, which was founded in 1964. International Group has worked in 52 countries and completed 500 healthcare, leisure and sporting projects. Clients have included 24 Governments, 3 Royal Families, United Nations, the Football Association, the Miami Dolphins and Wanda Group.

International Group owns and operates International Hospitals Group (www.ihg.co.uk) and Stoke Park, the UK’s leading country club and 5 star hotel (www.stokepark.com).

Chester has over 24 years senior management experience within the advertising, marketing, sports, esports and leisure industries.

Chester is the CEO of the eGames Group, which created The eGames, an international esports competition where Pro Gamers represent their country for medals and not prize money. The eGames was showcased in Rio 2016 alongside the Olympics within British House (www.egames.org).

Chester also founded the ‘British Esports Association’ in 2016 – the national body for esports in the UK whose main aims are to help develop the UK’s grassroots esports scene and provide an infrastructure to nurture future British talent. (www.britishesports.org).

Hamish McInnes

Hamish McInnes

CEO, British Shooting

Bio

Hamish is the Chief Executive of British Shooting, Director of 3forty3 Sports Consultancy and a member of the National Olympic Committee. He has been at the forefront of some of the most exciting and successful initiatives in sport in the UK over the past 20 years.

A former international athlete, he is also Non-executive Director of England Lacrosse, and has been a consultant and policy adviser to a range of national and international sports bodies. At Sport England he was Head of Governing Bodies, which followed two years as Head of World Class Programmes, and also served as a Director with the World Confederation of Billiard Sports for three years.

Hamish has played a part in the successful Team England set-ups of the last three Commonwealth Games including at the Manchester 2002 Games where he was part of the technical committee. He also assisted with the London 2012 Olympic Games’ venue and technical planning process.

Sally Munday

Sally Munday

CEO, England Hockey

Bio

Sally is CEO of England and Great Britain Hockey having previously worked for the LTA and in local authority sport and leisure.  She has been instrumental in increasing the popularity for hockey in the UK with the vision to achieve ‘a nation where hockey matters’ and since the London 2012 Olympics participation of young people playing has almost doubled.

Under the leadership of Sally England Hockey has won the rights to host four major international tournaments including the record breaking 2018 Vitality Women’s Hockey World Cup that saw almost 120k spectators and the event broadcast in 134 countries to an audience of almost half a billion.

In 2016 the Senior Women won their first ever Olympic Gold medal during the Rio Olympics making history for hockey in GB.

Sally is also an NED on the Boards of the English Institute of Sport and the Youth Sport Trust and sits as a member of the governments Sports Business Council.

Jane Nickerson

Jane Nickerson

CEO, Swim England

Bio

Jane Nickerson became Swim England CEO in 2017 having held a range of senior management posts during her 20 years at the organisation. These included Head of Administration, Director of Operations and latterly Chief Operating Officer.

Jane has a deep understanding of the sport through the eyes of a swimmer and through her involvement in regional governance. As a youngster she swam competitively for City of Coventry reaching national championship standard, and during the 1990s, was an England and Great Britain swimming team manager.

Jane graduated with B Ed majoring in History and English after studying Ethnography in France for 12 months. Outside of work, Jane continues to enjoying swimming for relaxation and is committed to her voluntary work with the Samaritans.

It is Jane’s belief that with positive thinking directed in the right direction, everything is possible.

Alison Oliver

Alison Oliver

Chief Executive, Youth Sport Trust

Bio

Ali is the Chief Executive at the Youth Sport Trust, an independent charity devoted to changing young people’s lives through sport.

Ali joined  the Youth Sport Trust in 2004 and has fulfilled the roles of Implementation Director,  Sport Director and Managing Director before becoming the CEO in July 2015. Prior to this Ali was the Deputy Director of Sport at the University of Bath having initially been the course leader for the initial teacher training programme for Physical Education. Before this Ali was Head of PE at Millfield School, having started her career as teacher in Essex.

During her career Ali has worked with and on behalf of a range of other organizations.  She supported the British Olympic Foundation’s education programme back in 2004 and delivered the Paralympic Inspiration Programme on behalf of the British Paralympic Association in London 2012.  Ali led LOCOG’s Youth Panel, and is a member of the selection panel for the Young Sports Personality of the Year.  She is currently a Board member of the Healthy Learning Trust, a Trustee of Chance to Shine, and an advisor to Sheffield Hallam University on their Sport strategy.   Ali has also worked on a number of international assignments including a project with Sport & Recreation South Africa which was part of the International Inspiration Programme.

Tove Okunniwa

Tove Okunniwa

Chief Executive, London Sport

Bio

Tove is CEO of London Sport, a non-profit organisation dedicated to making London the most active city in the world, supported by Sport England and the Mayor of London. She has a background in strategic marketing and content creation, with extensive experience in both commercial and non-profit sectors. Previously she led two successful sport and entertainment marketing agencies – WPP owned MEC Access and Havas Sports & Entertainment – advising clients such as Barclays, Coca-Cola, Visa, Danone, Lloyds Bank, Marriott, Specsavers, Nintendo and Morrisons among many others. Prior to this Tove spent 10 years at the BBC in senior brand marketing roles, including Head of Marketing at BBC Sport where she led a successful repositioning of the brand.

She is Deputy Chairwoman of England Boxing and a Trustee of Catch 22, a leading social business.

Keith Pelley

Keith Pelley

CEO, The European Tour

Bio

On Monday August 3, 2015, Canadian Keith Pelley became the fourth Chief Executive in the history of The European Tour. Prior to joining The European Tour, he was President of Rogers Media in Toronto where he was responsible for leading the overall operations of the company’s diverse portfolio, including Television, Radio, Publishing, Digital Media, The Shopping Channel, subscription-based content services, Toronto Blue Jays, and Rogers Centre. Before that, he was Executive Vice-President of Strategic Planning at CTVglobemedia, President of Canada’s Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium – which won a record seven awards for its coverage of Vancouver 2010 – President and CEO of the Toronto Argonauts Football Club, and President of The Sports Network in Canada, a company he first joined as an Editorial Assistant in 1986. He is a graduate of Ryerson University with a BA in Radio and Television Arts, and also received an ATCL diploma from Trinity College in London.
Matthew Porter

Matthew Porter

CEO, Professional Darts Corporation

Bio

Matthew Porter has been Chief Executive of the Professional Darts Corporation since January 2008, as well as a director of the PDC’s parent company, Matchroom Sport.

During that time, he has overseen the progress of the sport to unprecedented levels where it now pays out in excess of £14m prize money annually and has introduced a structure which provides a pathway from picking up a dart for the first time to being crowned World Champion, with the introduction of Development and Challenge Tours, as well as a World Series for elite players.

Porter was Chief Executive of Leyton Orient FC when the club was owned by Matchroom, as well as serving on the board of The Football League. In 2006 he was appointed as the youngest chief executive in English football by O’s chairman Barry Hearn, aged just 26. His appointment coincided with the Club’s promotion to League 1 and he oversaw their progression to an established side in the division which included narrowly missing out on promotion at the end of the 2013/14 season before the Club was sold.

Phil Smith

Phil Smith

Director of Sport at Sport England

Bio

As the Director of Sport, Phil Smith has responsibility for several areas of the Sport England business.

The sport team manages long term investments of several hundred million pounds in various sporting bodies and giving the subsequent advice to achieve results.

Those investments and programmes are aimed at retaining and growing the market for sports participation and helping people to enjoy the benefits of sport – whether physical, mental or social.

Phil’s team also leads Sport England’s work to develop sporting talent, which helps to find and develop successful England and GB athletes and teams, working closely with UK Sport and the British Olympic and Paralympic Associations.

In addition to helping people to play sport, Sport England is striving to make the sport industry better, which covers the good governance, financial sustainability and integrity of sports bodies. Phil and his team produces guidance and advice for leaders in sport to use.

Phil also has the responsibility for the workforce directorate, covering all the different types of roles essential for the sport and physical activity industry. This includes the needs of 7 million volunteers, 1.2 million coaches and 400,000 professional staff. Equality and diversity is of vital importance within that workforce so that function also sits within this team.

Phil has always worked in sport and joined Sport England in 2008 from The Football Association, where his professional career started after Euro ‘96 as the General Secretary of the County FA in Manchester. His football career took him through various roles in the game before becoming The FA’s Head of Policy and Public Affairs, responsible for football industry policy in relation to Government in both the UK and international bodies.

Sara Sutcliffe

Sara Sutcliffe

Chief Executive, Table Tennis England

Bio

Sara was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Table Tennis England in July 2013. Since then the organisation has undergone considerable governance reform, a relocation of the head office and a restructure of the professional staff. Sara is a qualified solicitor who moved from private practice into sports administration in 2001 when she joined the British Olympic Association as its Director of Legal (and latterly also of HR). Sara’s 12 years at the BOA encompassed 6 Olympic Games as well as an instrumental role in the successful London 2012 bid.

Upon leaving the BOA at the end of 2012, Sara took up non executive directorships on the Boards of British Gymnastics and GB Taekwondo. She is also Deputy Chair of the European Table Tennis Union’s Women’s Committee and a member of the ITTF’s Rules Committee.  

Also confirmed

Nick Fellows, CEO, British Equestrian Federation

Duncan Goodhew, Former Swimming Olympic Gold Medalist & Vice President, Youth Sport Trust

David Grevemberg CBE, Chief Executive Officer, Commonwealth Games Federation