Leicestershire and Rutland CFA

Board and Council

Surinder Sharma

Surinder Sharma

Chair of the Board

Surinder joined the LRCFA Board in July 2020 as Chair of the Inclusion Advisory Group (IAG) and was appointed as the Chair of the Board of the Association in June, 2021.

He was appointed as the first ever National Director, Equality & Human Rights for the Department of Health and the NHS and has over 40 years of experience within leadership roles and achieving organisational cultural change and championing equity, fairness, diversity and inclusion. Surinder is also the Co-Director for the Unit for Diversity, Inclusion & Community Engagement, University of Leicester.

His career has spanned working in leadership roles for various organizations, including serving as a regulator at the Commission for Racial Equality and as a Commissioner for the Equal Opportunities Commission. He has also held positions in broadcasting at the BBC, in retail at Littlewoods, in manufacturing at the Ford Motor Company (Europe), and in Pharma at Novartis AG, Switzerland. Additionally, he has experience in government, having worked at the Department of Health and the NHS.

Surinder has served as an elected member on Leicester City Council, as a Justice of the Peace in Leicester, as the High Sheriff of Leicestershire, as a Trustee of UNICEF UK, and as a Member of Council at Aston University. He serves on various organizations, including Chair of Leicester Race Equality Council, the National Space Centre, Charity Link, and the Phoenix Cinema & Arts Centre. Additionally, he is a Member of Council at Loughborough University and acts as an Independent Person for Leicestershire County Council and Leicestershire Fire & Rescue Service.

Surinder has been recognised for his service and holds the appointment  as the Deputy Lieutenant for Leicestershire, Honorary Alderman City of Leicester and awarded honorary doctorate degrees by Birmingham City University, De Montfort University, University of Leicester, Aston University and honorary professorships by Wolverhampton University and Manchester University Business School. 


Joe Dunmore

Chief Executive Officer

Ex-Officio Director

Senior Safeguarding Lead

Joe has been with the County FA since 2016 and became the CEO in 2023. His key responsibilities include leading the implementation of the FA Grassroots Football Strategy, the Association’s business strategy and spearheading the strategic direction and culture of the Association.

In addition, he oversees the Commercial, Services, and Development departments, ensuring the day-to-day operations of the Association run smoothly. Joe is also the Senior Safeguarding Lead and is accountable for ensuring that safeguarding is embedded throughout the County FA.

Sharon Reason

Sharon Reason

Football Development Director

Sharon joined the Board in June 2021 after joining the Council as a Club Representative. She has also been Chair of the Council for two seasons, and is a founding member of Asfordby Amateurs Ladies, Girls and Inclusive FC, having held many positions within the club, and is currently the club Chair. Sharon has also helped to set up the original Leicester Girls League, in the early days of the start-up of women’s and girls' football at LRCFA.

Sharon currently works for a packaging company based in New York, where she oversees sales in Asia and Europe. She has over 35 years of experience in the footwear trade in various functions, which has prepared her very well for dealing with people at all levels.

Sharon has a passion for the female game and looks to help support clubs and volunteers with growing their female sections.

Laurence Jones

Laurence Jones

Football Services Director

Laurence joined the LRCFA Board in June 2021. He has been involved in the game since his childhood and has over 45 years of experience in voluntary and senior executive appointments across all levels of the game. Laurence retired from refereeing in 2001, where he had achieved the National List of Assistant Referees and Panel List of Referees, and held numerous voluntary roles in refereeing and youth football. In 2000, he was appointed as Chief Executive of the Hampshire FA, and in 2006 he became Chief Executive of AFC Bournemouth.

Upon leaving Bournemouth in 2008, Laurence joined the LRCFA on a three-month contract, following which he was appointed as Chief Executive. In 2011, he joined the FA as Senior CFA Business Manager, and in 2015, he was appointed as the Head of the National League System, a post that he still holds at the FA. He is an executive member of the FA National Game Board, FA Alliance Committee, and FA Leagues Committee.

As a volunteer, Laurence is Chief Executive and Director of Harborough Town FC and a Trustee of the Harborough Town Community Trust, having been involved with the club since 2013. He is also a club representative on the United Counties League Management Committee. He is delighted to be a member of the LRCFA Board and hopes that his experience will assist the Association in growing participation, developing facilities, and building new strategic partnerships to support the development of football in the county.

Derren Carlisle

Derren Carlisle

Finance Director

Derren joined the Board in August 2021 with a desire to bring his experience of local grassroots football as well as his knowledge of the national game to develop the County FA. Derren is an accountant at the National FA, which has helped to provide him with a breadth of knowledge of the governance of football.

In his spare time, he plays in the Leicester and Charnwood Sunday Football League, and he is currently working way through his coaching badges for football and futsal.

Penny Hajek

Safeguarding Board Champion (SBC)

Penny joined the Board in February 2024. Her professional background lies in Children’s Social Care, boasting substantial experience as a local authority practitioner and senior manager, culminating in her most recent role as Assistant Director with Leicester City Council. A qualified social worker, she has accrued over 35 years of experience working across a range of children, young people, and family services. Her working life has been focused on improving the welfare of children and families, with a strong emphasis on safeguarding.

From 2010 until 2022, Penny worked as an independent consultant with a number of local authorities across the country, undertaking projects aimed at improving children and young people’s safeguarding services. She has also held a post at a new Children's Trust, which has afforded her another perspective on delivering children's services, including the political and financial implications.

Penny is passionate about achieving the best outcomes for children and young people and believes that grassroots football, delivered in a safe environment, can play a large part in this, having witnessed this for herself.
In fulfilling this goal, she wants to ensure that the County FA maintains a safeguarding lens on all work with children, young people, and vulnerable adults.

John Harding

John Harding

Human Resources Director

John joined the Board at County FA in 2021. After working full time in HR and related areas in the energy sector for over 35 years, he decided to look for a volunteer role within the sports sector to allow him to put something back into the community.

The key focus of his role is to contribute to the CFA’s strategic development and capabilities, and in particular, to work with the CEO to improve the working environment for employees and volunteers throughout the CFA. He is also chair of the Remuneration and Nomination sub-committee of the Board.

Outside of the CFA, John is a level one qualified FA coach at Castle Donnington FC in North West Leicestershire. He is also the chair of Trustees of a medium sized pension scheme.

Michael Tolond

Michael Tolond

Legal Director

Michael was appointed a Director of the County FA in January 2022 and has been a Council member representing Rutland clubs since 2021.

His involvement in grassroots football started as a player, with clubs in Merseyside, Nottingham Trent University, Nottinghamshire (Wollaton FC) and (Cottesmore AFC). He has also served as a committee member, secretary and treasurer of all his clubs, and most recently he has been the manager of English Veterans FC.

Michael is a law graduate of London University and holds a postgraduate qualification in company Law, business and finance from the Chartered Governance Institute.

In his professional career, Michael has held senior positions in the legal departments of two public limited companies and has acted as Company Secretary of a number of wealth management and insurance companies, a professional association of physiotherapists, and a Chamber of Commerce. He was also Clerk to the governing body of two Leicester FE Colleges.

Michael spends his Saturday afternoons reporting for the Non-League Paper on matches involving Leicestershire clubs playing in the FA Vase, FA Trophy and FA Cup.

Bob Stretton MBE

Bob Stretton MBE

Facilities Director

Bob joined the LRCFA Board in June 2021, following his retirement as Chair of Aylestone Park Football Club after 53 years, during which time he held every conceivable position within the club and Chair for 29 years.

During his time as Chair, he undertook many projects, engaging with local authorities, CFA, Football Foundation, grant funders, business partners, members and the committee enabling the club to build a £3m facility serving the residents of South Leicester.

Bob has the major responsibility of assisting the CFA staff in delivering the Local Football Facilities Plan for Leicestershire and Rutland. When delivered these plans could bring £54m of investment for Clubs in the Counties by utilising his experience to help other clubs realise their ambitions and future dreams.

Blank profile

Craig Davis

Partnerships & Commercial Director