Game Changer Award

Rebecca Welch

Welch, 40, became the first woman to ever referee a Premier League as Fulham were beaten by Burnley at Craven Cottage in December 2023. Welch was applauded for her performance in the game, which came two years after she was also the first ever woman to take charge of a Football League match from the middle.

Natalie Portman

Oscar winning actress Portman founded Angel City Football Club in Los Angeles following her work with the Time’s Up movement, which aims for equal pay for women in Hollywood, and her children’s love of football. Despite only being founded in 2020, Angel City are among the most successful in the league and boast high-profile investors including Eva Longoria, Jennifer Garner, America Ferrera and Billie Jean King.

Jill Scott MBE

Jill Scott MBE is a women’s football icon who has proven a smash-hit on the field, in the jungle and in the punditry studio. A passionate advocate for women’s football, the former Man City, Everton and England midfielder was awarded an MBE in 2020 before being part of the Lionesses team which lifted the European Championship title in 2022.

Debbie Hewitt

Debbie Hewitt MBE, Chair of the Football Association, was elected as a FIFA Vice-President in 2023. Hewitt secured 39 of 55 votes at the UEFA Congress in Lisbon to begin an immediate four-year team, becoming the first ever female FIFA VIce-President in history.

Rafaela Pimenta

Pimenta, a super agent hailing from Brazil, is often described as one of the most powerful women in football. Her clients include Erling Haaland after she forged a relationship with the late Mino Raiola, working as a former academic and lawyer. Since the death of Raiola, she has taken a more public role in the Monaco agency.

Nouhaila Benzina

Morocco defender Nouhaila Benzina has made history by becoming the first player to wear a hijab at a World Cup. The 25-year-old wore the Islamic headscarf as she made her first appearance at the tournament in a 1-0 win over South Korea. Benzina was also the first player to wear a hijab at a senior women’s international tournament.

Kelly Simmons OBE

Kelly Simmons OBE has developed women’s football in England for more than three decades. The FA have described her career as ‘remarkable’ as she departs the FA in 2024 after arriving in 1991. She has held a variety of roles in both the men’s and women’s game, leading on the delivery of some of the most successful national game strategies. Simmons also established the England Women youth teams and the Female Player Pathway.

Hannah Dingley

Hannah Dingley made Football League history in 2023 when she became the first woman to lead an elite English men’s team, taking interim charge of Forest Green Rovers following the departure of Duncan Ferguson. She remains Head of Academy at Forest Green Rovers.

Victoire Cogevina Reynal

Victoire Cogevina Reynal is CEO and founder of Mercury/13, the consortium that focuses purely on women’s football. In March, Mercury/13 purchased its first club, FC Como Women, from Serie A Femminile. Reynal has pledged £85 million into building a portfolio of clubs worldwide, promising to ‘rethink football ownership’ in the women’s game.

Gillian Coulthard MBE

Gillian Coulthard, 60, is a women’s football pioneer, being capped 119 times for England Women between 1981 and 2000. Coulthard scored England’s first ever goal at a Women’s World Cup and was awarded an MBE in 2021 for her services to football. She was the first ever player to reach 100 caps for England.