UKSA appoint new Chair

UKSA Chair, Genevieve Gordon-Thomson

The UK Sports Association (UKSA) is pleased to announce that Genevieve Gordon-Thomson, has been appointed Chair by the UKSA Board of Trustees at their July meeting. Mrs Gordon-Thomson takes over the role from Bernard Atha CBE with immediate effect.

Mrs Gordon-Thomson, who is a keen sports woman, re-training racehorses and formerly involved in rugby, said she was “delighted to be appointed Chair of UKSA at such an important time”. She went on to say “I look forward to working with the Board, the Partners and our committed CEO, athletes and volunteers at this important charity.  For some time UKSA has worked hard to overcome adversity on behalf of its athletes and continues to do so daily. UKSA is an organisation that feverishly encourages diversity in elite sport and aims to transcend the message of opportunity to all.”

Bernard Atha CBE, who remains as UKSA President announced the appointment this week saying “I am delighted to welcome Genevieve at what is a critical time in disability sport. She brings with her a huge wealth of experience. Her commitment to UKSA and its athletes already spanning several years stands her, British athletes and UKSA in good stead.  Her business acumen and reputation precede her. Genevieve will guide UKSA well as it continues to advocate on behalf of athletes that all too often are not recognised in the UK in the way they should be.”

Mrs Gordon-Thomson continued saying “It is my firm intention during my tenure to help UKSA shine a light on sporting inclusion, inclusive opportunity and our talented athletes. Recognition as an elite athlete in disability sport does not mean Paralympic sport only. It’s time for change.”

Mrs Gordon-Thomson thanked outgoing Chair, Bernard Atha saying “Bernard has been outstanding in guiding UKSA.  His passion and enthusiasm are infectious. His longstanding commitment as Chair for over 40 years is unsurpassed.  I thank him for the role he has played at the UK Sports Association and for all that he has been involved in to support people with intellectual impairment over the years including being a founding member of the UK Sports Association, the British Paralympic Association, Virtus (formerly Inas) and a driving force in the sector worldwide.  I am delighted Bernard will remain as our President and look forward to working with him in my new role.”

Bernard Atha CBE, President UKSA with GB international medallist, Oliver Peace and his horse, Bailey.

Commenting on the appointment, UKSA Chief Executive Tracey McCillen said “This is a time of significant change.  I am delighted that Gen has been appointed and look forward to working closely with her to tackle the inequality that exists in disability sport.  I would also like to pay tribute to Bernard Atha, with whom I have had the privilege of working with for many years.”

Tracey McCillen continued, “We already have talented athletes who deliver strong performances as well as an opportunity to capture new talent for the future. What we need to get right in the UK is the support to our athletes, in the same way that athletes seeking Paralympic success enjoy. The sector needs to enable our athletes to continue to achieve and give them the recognition as elite athletes as they contribute to Britain’s sporting excellence credentials. I look forward to continuing to work with our new Chair and UKSA Board to achieve this.”

The UK Sports Association is the only national disability sports and umbrella body in the UK for sport and people with learning disability, Down Syndrome and Autism focusing on elite and high- performance sport. UKSA promotes, supports and facilitates talented sports people in the UK to train, compete and excel in national and international sport. UKSA is the only official Great Britain member of Virtus (formerly Inas), manages eligibility and classification across the UK and manages the GB Team to Virtus events.


For further information, images and interviews contact

Tracey McCillen, UKSA on 0207 490 3057, email 

Brief biography of Mrs Gordon Thomson:  Follow on Twitter @gentactic

Genevieve is CEO of Tactic Connect, a global sports agency that delivers athlete and business solutions, legal support, professional development opportunities, social impact initiatives, live activations and more. Their clients range from the Netball Players Association, Rio Ferdinand Foundation, Solo Sessions, individual athletes representing GB Olympians and Paralympians as well as sports organisations and supporting associations.

Having a first degree in Business and Finance Genevieve went on to train as a lawyer and since 2001 has worked actively within sports law. Historically she has advised organisations such as Brighton Bears on right to work regulations and other individual athletes on their commercial activities. Genevieve was an initial advisory to British Polo Enterprises for the inaugural British Polo Masters. Other long-term projects have included working for Major League Baseball International working primarily on The World Baseball Classic and MLB Academies although her extensive role included working on a variety of commercial and player projects.

Genevieve teaches International Sports Law and Global Sports Marketing at American universities including Syracuse University and Ithaca College and previously at British institutions including Birkbeck, University of London where she acted as a sessional lecturer in International Sports Law, Tort Law and Contract Law for 9 years. Annually Genevieve speaks at Cambridge University on the English Legal System and Comparative Systems with a sports law focus. Her research work focuses on legal issues surrounding equine sports, learning disabilities in sport and the legalities of sport sponsorships. She holds an LLM in International Sports Law as well as being on the editorial panel for Law inSport, legal advisor to Stoolball England and Acting Chair of the British Association for Sport and Law.


NOTES: UKSA and Virtus (Formerly Inas) are different to Special Olympics. UKSA promotes high performance ledelite competitive sport and is focused on the performance and winning gold.  UKSA and Virtus are part of the pathway to Global Games and Paralympic Games. Special Olympics are a year-round sports training and competition program for adults and children with learning disability.

Special Olympics competition is set in divisions so that athletes compete with other athletes of similar sports ability in each sport. Special Olympics competitions, domestic and international are non-elite and at a participation level catering to all-ability levels.

Special Olympics focus is on participation and improving an athlete’s quality of life.  Higher sports ability athletes may progress to Paralympic level through UKSA and Virtus, where those opportunities exist or through NGB World Class programmes.  Others progress in a wider range of sports through UKSA, either directly or through UKSA/NGB collaborations to Virtus Championship programmes including the Virtus Global Games.