Former Chelsea and England defender Claire Rafferty has been co-opted on to the board at Lewes FC as a non-executive director.

The 30-year-old retired from playing at the end of last season, having been with West Ham United in their debut FA Women’s Super League season. She has a degree in economics and having worked for Deutsche Bank, Lewes feel she can provide excellent business acumen across the whole club, not just the women’s side.

Rafferty said: “I’m incredibly honoured and excited to be joining the board of a team that is leading by example. Not only is Lewes the first club in the world to allocate resources equally by gender, but it is also 100% owned by the community.

“I hope the experiences I have acquired on and off the pitch can add a diverse voice and help Lewes continue on their journey.”

Chairman Stuart Fuller said: “Everyone at the club is thrilled that Claire has accepted our invitation to join the board. We rarely make such invitations, and only do so when we are convinced that the new director will make a material positive difference to what we can achieve as a club.

“With Claire, there’s no doubt of that; she is among the most driven people that I’ve ever met. We share her ambition and look forward to working together to take Lewes FC to the next level.”

General manager Maggie Murphy said: “We are delighted that Claire will join Lewes FC in this key leadership role, and excited that she will be able to apply her football business acumen to a club on the rise. We’re looking forward to taking Lewes FC to the next level alongside Claire in this new role.

“It’s clear that she has a vision and an ambition that can strengthen our whole club’s future.”

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