Anna Kessel

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Anna Kessel
Bornc. 1979 (age 40–41)
OccupationSports writer and commentator
Notable workEat, sweat, Play (2016)
Notable awardsMBE (2016)
@Anna Kessel (Twitter)

Anna Sofia Kessel, MBE (born c. 1979) is a British sportswriter and journalist for The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, and The Observer newspapers. She is the co-founder and former chairperson of the UK football charity Women in Football, which lobbies against sexism in the game.


Anna Sofia Kessel was born in Camden, London, around 1979,[1][2] and has two daughters, born in 2012 and 2016.[3][4]


Kessel is a journalist who writes predominately about women's sport.[5][6] She joined The Guardian and The Observer in 2004,[4] and The Telegraph in 2019.[7] She is a radio and TV sports commentator and interviewer, having contributed to coverage of the 2005, 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, plus "several World Cups, Euros and World Championships."[4] In 2016 she published her book, Eat, Sweat, Play: How Sport Can Change Your Life, "aimed at bringing sport to the female masses.".[8] She also works as a ghostwriter for sports personalities.[4]

Women in Football[edit]

In 2007 Kessel founded Women in Football (WiF) with Shelley Alexander,[3][9] and was the chair of the football charity for ten years.[10] WiF lobbies against sexism and for gender equality in sport.[11] In 2019, she wrote in The Telegraph, "It matters because of girls such as 13-year-old Olivia, who contacted me after she was punched at school for having the audacity to play football ... It matters because the gender pay gap is still an issue ... It matters because women who are not physically active are less likely to make time for health appointments."[5] By the time Kessel stepped down as chair in 2017, the organisation had over 2,500 members.[10]

Blue Plaque Rebellion[edit]

In 2017 the Blue Plaque Rebellion was founded by Kessel, as a campaign partner of the Women's Sport Trust,[12] after she "stumbled across the woeful stats on the lack of statues and blue plaques for sportswomen."[13] This is "a campaign to unearth and champion women’s sporting history" because in the UK as of 2017 there were 200 blue plaques commemorating sportsmen, but only two plaques dedicated to sportswomen.[14]

Awards, comments and reviews[edit]

Kessel was awarded an MBE for services to journalism and women in sport in 2016,[15] having been listed in the 2016 Birthday Honours. The award was presented by Anne, Princess Royal.[16][17] In their list of the 50 Most Influential Women in Sport, The Independent newspaper described her as a “fearless adversary of sexism”.[12]


  • Kessel, Anna (16 June 2019). Eat, Sweat, Play: How Sport Can Change Your Life. Macmillan. ISBN 978-1509808106.


  1. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 2 November 2019. Births Mar 1979 Kessel Anna Neisser CAMDEN 14 2124
  2. ^ Roanna Day (12 November 2018). "Meet your hero: forget what your PE teacher said, Anna Kessel knows you don't suck at sports". Red Online. Red (Hearst UK). Retrieved 2 November 2019. (In 2016) I had just had my second child ... I was 38 at the time
  3. ^ a b "Women have power to lead the way to sporting success". The Irish Times. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d "Anna Kessel". Pan Macmillan. 2019. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  5. ^ a b Kessel, Anna (19 March 2019). "The landscape of women's sport is changing and we will capture it all". The Telegraph. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  6. ^ "Women in Football - Women in Football co-founder Anna Kessel was awarded an MBE at Buckingham Palace". Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  7. ^ "Introducing Telegraph Women's Sport: A new era of unprecedented coverage". The Telegraph. 18 March 2019. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  8. ^ Kessel 2019.
  9. ^ "Review: Eat Sweat Play by Anna Kessell • Fearlessly". Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  10. ^ a b "Anna Kessel steps down as chair of Women in Football". Women in Football. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  11. ^ "Curtis Brown". Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  12. ^ a b "Anna Kessel - RSA". Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  13. ^ "Our People". Women's Sport Trust. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  14. ^ "The Blue Plaque Rebellion". Somerset ASA. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  15. ^ "Queen's Birthday Honours: Alan Shearer & Alastair Cook made CBEs". BBC. 10 June 2016. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  16. ^ Sport, Observer (11 June 2016). "Anna Kessel awarded MBE for services to journalism and women's sport". The Observer. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  17. ^ Mayhew, Freddy (17 June 2016). "Six journalists in Queen's Birthday Honours list include Janet Street-Porter, Melanie Reid and John Micklethwait". Press Gazette. Retrieved 2 November 2019.