ABOUT FWA

WHO WE ARE

The FWA was formed in 1947 to represent the interests of football writers in England, and has grown to over 800 full and student members. We have a National Committee of 21 (see below) and regional branches covering the North West, North East and Midlands.


We are always striving to improve media working facilities and access, and are in constant liaison with clubs, federations and governing bodies. We also interact with similar bodies such as the Sports Journalists’ Association, Women in Football, Sports Media LGBT+ and others. We were a founding member of the Sports Freelance Collective during the initial lockdown in Spring 2020.


The FWA also oversees a number of prestigious social events and awards, most notably the original Footballer of the Year award, voted on by members since 1948. The annual Footballer of the Year dinner now incorporates our award for the Women’s Footballer of the Year, since 2018. See the awards section.


Our other major national dinner is Tribute Night each January, where we honour one of the great names to have served our game.


Our branches in the North-West, North-East and Midlands also organise regional awards dinners, as well as lunches and FWA Live events around the country.


We have inaugurated our own Student Football Writer of the Year awards, as well as a mentoring scheme for young journalists.

NATIONAL COMMITTEE

The FWA has a national committee, currently comprising 21 members, who meet in person or via Zoom, every six to eight weeks. Committee members can be contacted by any FWA member who wishes to raise an issue, or anyone interested in joining the FWA.

 

The Chair is voted for by the committee and usually serves a three-year term. Our current Chair is Carrie Brown, and below is a list of former Chairmen. The Executive Secretary is Paul McCarthy, who oversees all administrative and organisational issues. John Ley is membership secretary.

 

The current National Committee comprises the following:
Philippe Auclair, Steve Bates, Anne-Marie Batson, Joel Beya, Vaishali Bhardwaj, Carrie Brown (Chair), Gerry Cox, Adam Crafton, John Cross, Andy Dunn, Paul Hetherington, Jon Holmes, Darren Lewis, John Ley, Nick Mashiter, Paul McCarthy (Executive Secretary), Sami Mokbel, Jacqui Oatley, Alyson Rudd, Jim Van Wyck, Jim White.

Philippe Auclair

 

Philippe joined the NC in 2010 and has been the Chair of the FWA Book Committee since 2019. He has been France Football’s England correspondent since 1999 and also covers English football for Eurosport/Discovery France, Europe 1, RFI, RTS and other international media.

Steve Bates

 

Steve has held a number of roles in the FWA, including Chairman from 2008-12 and Chairman of the North-West branch several times. Having started at the Rochdale Observer and then Hayters in Fleet Street, he joined the People in 1987 and has been Chief Football Writer since 2006.

Anne-Marie Batson

 

Anne-Marie joined the FWA in 2019 and National Committee in 2021. A sports broadcaster with Premier League Productions, TalkSport and Times Radio, she also presents Chelsea Women Match Day. Football recognised her contribution to the game at the 2019 Football Black List awards, and she helped produce the award-winning podcast “Coming in From the Cold”.

Joel Beya

 

Joel has been a member of the FWA National Committee since 2019. He started in football in 2014 when he founded CheekySport, which brought “lots of energy, joy and humour” to football coverage. Now digital content creator for FIVE which is Rio Ferdinand’s digital platform.

Vaishali Bhardwaj

 

Vaishali has been an FWA member since 2018 and on the National Committee since 2019. Having started at the London Evening Standard, she is now a broadcaster for the Premier League, Prime Video Sport and BBC 5 Live and writes for The Guardian.

Carrie Brown


Carrie became the FWA’s first female chair in 2019. An FWA member for over a decade, Carrie reports for beIN on the Premier League, Champions League and follows England. Carrie has secured exclusive interviews with football’s greatest names, including Sir Alex Ferguson, David Beckham, Lionel Messi and Xavi.

Gerry Cox

 

Gerry joined the FWA in 1990, the National Committee in 1992 and was FWA Chairman from 2002-2005. In 1987 he joined Hayters, which he now co-owns, and has written for every national newspaper. He is also an author and broadcast journalist who oversees the FWA’s video and social media content.

Adam Crafton

 

Adam joined the FWA National Committee in 2021. He is a journalist for The Athletic, after previously working as a sports reporter for the Daily Mail. He was named the Sports Journalist Association’s Young Sports Writer of the Year in 2017.

John Cross

 

John joined the FWA in 2002 and the NC in 2013. Having started on local papers and at Hayters, he joined the Daily Mirror in 1999 and is now Chief Football Writer, covering World Cups, Euros and Olympic Games as well as Premier and Champions League football.

Andy Dunn


Andy is Chief Sports Writer of the Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror, having previously worked at the People. He has been a member of the FWA since 1994, on the National Committee since 1999, and served as FWA Chairman from 2012-16. He has also been Chairman of the FWA’s North West branch.

Paul Hetherington

 

Paul has been an FWA member for 43 years and on the National Committee since 1998, A former FWA Chairman and executive secretary, he was also chairman of the North West and North East branches. He spent 31 years on national newspapers including the News of the World, Sunday Mirror and Daily Star Sunday.

Jon Holmes

 

Jon joined the National Committee in 2021. He is an experienced editor and writer with Sky Sports, where his role partly entails contributing and co-ordinating content in support of the Rainbow Laces campaign. Founded and led on industry network, advocacy and consultancy group Sports Media LGBT+.

Darren Lewis


Darren joined the FWA in 2015 and was elected to the NC in 2018. He started in local journalism in 1995 before joining Hayters in 1999. He moved to the Daily Mirror in 2000 and is now an Assistant Editor and Columnist. He continues to cover football at all levels.


John Ley

 

John has been an FWA member since 1987, and on the National Committee for 20 years. He is the FWA’s Membership Secretary. He began with Hayters in 1977 before joining the Oxford Mail and then spent 27 years at the Daily Telegraph.

Nick Mashiter

 

Nick is the Press Association’s Midlands football writer and has been on the FWA National Committee since 2017. Nick started at the Wiltshire Gazette & Herald, before joining the Wolverhampton Express & Star in 2008. He is also PA’s England Under-21s correspondent.

Paul McCarthy (Executive Secretary)


Paul joined the FWA in 1988 and the National Committee in 1992. He was FWA Chairman from 1999 to 2002. Since 2011, he has been the Executive Secretary, running the administration of the FWA. An experienced former reporter, columnist and sports editor, he now runs a media consultancy.


Sami Mokbel

 

Sami joined the FWA in 2017 and the national committee in 2020. Having started as a news reporter on local newspapers in south London, he secured his first job in football journalism covering AFC Wimbledon in 2006. He is now chief football reporter for the Daily Mail, covering England, Premier League and Champions League football.

Jacqui Oatley

 

Jacqui joined the FWA National Committee in 2018 and is an experienced broadcaster on television, radio and digital, including Sky Sports, BBC, The Athletic and UEFA. She was the first female commentator on Match of the Day and in 2016 was awarded an MBE for promoting women working in football and the women’s game.

Alyson Rudd

 

Alyson Rudd has been a FWA member for over 20 years and joined the National Committee in 2018. She is an award-wining sportswriter for The Times and Sunday Times, covering football at all levels, as well as being a celebrated author.

Jim Van Wijk

 

Jim joined the National Committee in 2005. He spent a decade as the Press Association’s Arsenal correspondent and covering England games at Wembley. He now works in a desk-based role helping support PA Media coverage across football and general sport.

Jim White

 

Jim has been on the National Committee since 2014 and oversees the FWA’s Mentoring scheme and Student Football Writing awards. He writes for the Daily Telegraph, having worked at The Guardian and The Independent. He has written three best-selling books: Are You Watching Liverpool, Manchester United The Biography and You’ll Win Nothing With Kids.

OUR ORIGINAL OBJECTIVES, ON FORMATION IN 1947

  • To maintain the prestige of football writers
  • To obtain higher standards of facilities
  • To maintain a friendly liason with all football associations, leagues and clubs, as well as FIFA
  • To welcome and entertain overseas football writers carrying out their duties in this country
  • To be a medium for all grievances in London and provinces
  • To promote social intercourse
  • UPDATED CONSTITUTION – OCTOBER 2018

    We have updated the FWA’s constitution to bring it into line with the modern world, and here it is in full:

    1. Name
    a. The name of the group shall be Football Writers’ Association

     

    2. Aims

    The aims of the Football Writers’ Association will be:

    1. a. To act as the representative body for those involved in the football media industry toinclude written journalists, broadcasters, bloggers, journalism students and those whose majority income is generated from publishing work related to the football media industry.
    2. b.  To uphold best journalistic practices at all times
    3. c.  To act as a representative of its members in terms of conflict resolution with club,authorities and governing bodies
    4. d.  To push for and advise on best media facilities and practices possible
    5. e. To provide a mentorship programme for students seeking to enter the football media industry
    6. f.  To vote for the Footballer of the Year and Women’s Footballer of the Year
    7. g. To form a Books Committee to vote on the annual Football Book of the Year
    8.  

    3. Membership
    Membership is open to anyone who:

    • a. is aged over 18 years
    • b. is employed in the football media industry as a journalist, broadcaster or blogger
    • c. is a student studying football or sports journalism Membership will begin as soon as the membership form and first annual payment has been received.
    •  
    • There will be an annual membership fee which will be agreed at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and will be payable by all members.

    A list of all members will be kept by the membership secretary.

    Ceasing to be a member:

    a. Members may resign at any time in writing to the secretary.
    b. Any member who has not paid their membership fee for one year will be contacted by the committee, who will then decide whether that member is deemed to have resigned.
    c. Any offensive behaviour, including racist, sexist or inflammatory remarks, will not be permitted. 

    d. Anyone behaving in an offensive way or breaking the equal opportunities policy may be asked not to attend further meetings or to resign from the association if an apology is not given or the behaviour is repeated. The individual concerned shall have the right to be heard by the National Committee, accompanied by a friend, before a final decision is made.

     

    4. Equal Opportunities

    The Football Writers’ Association will not discriminate on the grounds of gender, race, colour, ethnic or national origin, sexuality, disability, religious or political belief, marital status or age.

     

    5. Officers and committee

    a. The business of the group will be carried out by a National Committee elected at the Annual General Meeting. 

    b. The Committee will meet as necessary and not less than four times a year.

    c. The Committee will consist of no more than 25 members, and be composed of four officers and a maximum of 21 committee members. Additional members may be co-opted onto the committee at the discretion of the committee.

    The officers’ roles are as follows:

    a. Chair who shall chair both general and committee meetings

    b. Vice Chair who will deputise in the absence of the Char

    c. Executive Secretary, who shall be responsible for the taking of minutes and the distribution of all papers

    d. Membership secretary, who shall be responsible for keeping records of members

    e. Treasurer who shall be responsible for maintaining accounts. This role will be maintained by the Executive 

    f. Secretary until such times as the National Committee decide otherwise.

    g. In the event of an officer standing down during the year a replacement will be elected by the next General Meeting of members.

    h. Any committee member not attending a meeting without apology for three months will be contacted by the committee and asked if they wish to resign.

    i. The Committee meetings will be open to members of the National Committee. Further invites will be extended at the grace of the National Committee to members who may speak but may not vote.

     

    6. Meetings

    6.1. Annual General Meetings

    An Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held within fifteen months of the previous AGM. All members will be notified in writing at least two weeks before the date of the meeting, giving the venue, date and time by email, website or social media.

    Nominations for the committee may be made to the Secretary before the meeting, or at the meeting.

    The quorum for the AGM will be a minimum of half the membership of the National Committee.

    At the AGM:-

    a. The Committee will present a report of the work of the Football Writers’ Association over the year.

    b. The Committee will present the accounts of the Football Writers’ Association for the previous year.

    c. The officers and Committee for the next year will be elected. In the event of no nominations from outside of the National Committee, the National Committee may be re-elected en bloc.

    d. Any proposals given to the Executive Secretary at least seven days in advance of the meeting will be discussed.6.2 Committee Meetings

    e. Committee meetings may be called by the Chair or Executive Secretary. Committee members must receive notice of meetings at least seven days before the meeting. The quorum for Committee meetings is six Committee members.

     

    7. Rules of Procedure for meetings

    All questions that arise at any meeting will be discussed openly and the meeting will seek to find general agreement that everyone present can agree to.

    If a consensus cannot be reached a vote will be taken and a decision will be made by a simple majority of members present. If the number of votes cast on each side is equal, the chair of the meeting shall have an additional casting vote.

     

    8. Finances

    a. An account will be maintained on behalf of the Association at a bank agreed by the committee. Two cheque signatories will be nominated by the Committee (one to be the Treasurer/Executive Secretary). The signatories must not be related nor members of the same household.

    b. Records of income and expenditure will be maintained by the Treasurer and a financial statement given at the AGM.

    c. All money raised by or on behalf of the Football Writers’ Association is only to be used to further the aims of the group, as specified in item 2 of this constitution.

     

    9. Amendments to the Constitution

    a. Amendments to the constitution may only be made at the Annual General Meeting.

    b. Any proposal to amend the constitution must be given to the Executive Secretary in writing. The proposal must then be circulated with the notice of meeting.

    c. Any proposal to amend the constitution will require a two thirds majority of those present and entitled to vote.

     

    10. Dissolution

    a. If a meeting, by simple majority, decides that it is necessary to close down the group it may call a Special General Meeting to do so. The sole business of this meeting will be to dissolve the group.

    b. If it is agreed to dissolve the group, all remaining money and other assets, once outstanding debts have been paid, will be donated to a local charitable organisation. The organisation will be agreed at the meeting which agrees the dissolution.

    HISTORY

    The decision to form the FWA was made by four journalists on board a ship in the middle of the English Channel on September 22 1947. The four were returning from Brussels, where they had seen England beat Belgium 5-2 in a friendly international, and are listed as Messrs Cole, Roy Peskett, Archie Quick, and Charles Buchan. The latter was the most famous of the four, having been an England international before becoming a successful journalist and founding the legendary Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly.

    Within a month they had formalised some of the rules and regulations for the fledging association, membership would be invitation only, to “working journalists who are accredited football correspondants for newspapers and agencies.” Headquarters were to be in London with the initial membershp fee set at five guineas for the first year, and two guineas annually thereafter – with an FWA tie included!
    Photo courtesy of  The Times/NI Syndication

    AWARDS

    It was also decided to hold an annual vote of members for their Footballer Of The Year, still the oldest and most prestigious individual award in the domestic game. The award would be presented at the annual dinner, which was originally held on the eve of the FA Cup final – this has long since settled into the Thursday before each Cup Final.

     

    The first winner, in 1948, was arguably the greatest footballer England has produced, Sir Stanley Matthews, and he won this coveted title again in 1963.

     

    Sir Stan embodies everything the cup stands for – not just footballing ability, but for behaviour on and off the pitch. Membership grew to around 200 by the 1960s and is now around 400, with regional branches in the Midlands, North and North-East all thriving.

    THE FUTURE

    Membership of the Football Writers Association has continued to grow steadily, to more than 750, with regional hubs in the north-west, north-east, Midlands and London. With the changes in modern-day journalism, FWA members now come from more diverse backgrounds rather than the once traditional newspaper reporter.

     

    The Association has also needed to develop quickly in recent years, with on-line voting for Footballer of the Year now also available to members, while the FWA website incorporates new social media platforms all of which help improve communication.

     

    We remain proactive in taking up members issues with both clubs as well as the Premier League and Football League, whether it be over disputed access or press facilities, and the FWA also acts to guide clubs who are looking to redevelop their own stadia.

     

    The FWA continues to openly recruit new members and welcomes any input as to how to make covering the beautiful game a smooth working environment for all.

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