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Former Man United and Disney executive Anson appointed BOA chief executive

The British Olympic Association has appointed former Disney and Manchester United executive Andy Anson as its new chief executive. He replaces Bill Sweeney who left to become chief executive of the Rugby Football Union in February.

Anson, aged 54, has had a rounded career in sport and media, having served as the commercial director at Manchester United between 2003 and 2007 where he was involved in negotiating the club’s then-record shirt sponsorship deal with AIG.

He has also performed senior strategy, planning and finance roles at The Walt Disney Company and Channel 4 TV in the UK and was chief executive of England 2018, England’s unsuccessful bid to host the Fifa World Cup. After that, Anson served as the chief executive of sports retailer Kitbag, overseeing the company’s sale to Fanatics in 2016.

A spokesperson for the BOA told SportBusiness that Anson’s strong record of athlete engagement while he was chief executive of the ATP World Tour in Europe in 2007 also served him well in the recruitment process.

Anson joins the BOA from Goals Soccer Centres, just over a year since he joined the 5-a-side football venue operator. The organisation, which runs 50 outdoor football centres in the UK and California, issued a profit warning in early March after uncovering ‘accounting errors’ which broke the terms of its banking agreement. SportBusiness understands Anson discovered the irregularities and there is no inference he is responsible for them.

An exact start date has not been set although it is thought he has committed to remain with Goals for six months to resolve its accounting issues.

With little over a year to go until the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, Anson joins at an important time for the BOA. He brings considerable knowledge of the BOA and the Olympic Movement, having served as an unpaid Independent non-executive director of the BOA since 2011.

Anson said: “I have been fortunate to enjoy a rewarding career across different aspects of the sports industry over many years, but the BOA is an organisation close to my heart and I am extremely motivated to play a role in the future of the organisation on behalf of the athletes and the member National Governing Bodies.”