A global businesswoman and sports enthusiast, who champions inclusivity in sport, has been presented with an honorary doctorate by the University of Roehampton.

Rimla Akhtar, the first Muslim and Asian woman on the Football Association Council, was awarded an MBE for her contribution to equality and diversity in sport in 2015.

Her interest in sport began at an early age when she grew up playing football with her brothers and friends in north London and, in 2005, she captained the British Muslim women’s futsal team at the Women’s Islamic Games in Iran.

Rimla’s passion is to encourage participation in sport and, also in 2005, became the chair of the Muslim Women’s Sports Foundation which supports Muslim women becoming involved in sport.

Paul O’Prey, vice-chancellor at the University of Roehampton, said: “Rimla has been highly influential in widening participation in sport and has excelled in business.

“Her work in promoting diversity and inclusivity echoes that of our own work at Roehampton, which encourages participation by students from all backgrounds.

“She is an inspiration to our graduates.”

Rimla was one of six honorary doctorates at Roehampton’s graduation ceremonies this year, with others including Baroness Helena Kennedy of the Shaws QC, Bianca Jagger, Dame Sue John and Paul Sinton-Hewitt CBE.