Carol Bates says she was “shocked” and “honoured” to be awarded with a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to football and inclusion.
Carol, 54, is the founder of Crawley Old Girls (COGs), a recreational team for women over the age of 25 in the town.
She started playing football at the age of 48, along with 10 other friends, and COGs has since grown tremendously to now have over 100 members.
As a result, she has inspired groups nationwide which led to an old girls’ World Cup being played in France in 2018, with over 200 women taking part.
This kind of recognition won’t be new to Carol, she was also nominated for the Sunday Times Grassroots Sportswoman of the Year. COGs as a club have also previously been in The FA Women’s Football Awards and won The FA #WeCanPlay Participation Award for an ‘innovative and amazing concept’.
Speaking to us about the award, Carol said: “I was completely shocked when I was told and just stood looking at the email for about 15 minutes in disbelief! I’m humbled and so proud to be awarded with a British Empire Medal for services to Football and Inclusion, which is such a passion of mine.
“If it wasn’t for all the amazing, inspirational women who come to COGS, whether it’s to learn to play football at a later age or come back into the game and other women, especially Rachel Pavlou (Women’s Football Development National Manager at the FA) who has given us some amazing opportunities to help promote the game, I wouldn’t be in this position.
“Women’s Recreational Football has grown so much over the last 6 years, and that is partly due to so many older women inspiring others to show that it’s never too late to start playing, in a safe, non-judgemental environment. Football is for everyone, regardless of shape, size, ability, or experience and long may the growth continue to give opportunities to women all over the country.
“I’m very grateful and along with many others will continue to work hard to increase participation in Women’s Recreational Football.”
Also on the Queen’s Honours List, was Sussex resident, Kelly Simmons, who has been awarded an OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire), for services to Women’s Football whilst celebrating 30 years with The FA this year. Kelly has overseen significant change within the women’s professional game since taking on her role in 2018, including the Professionalisation of the Barclays FA Women’s Super League, and a new broadcast deal with Sky Sports and the BBC.
For further information about women’s football in Sussex please contact:
T: 01903 766855