Inspiring world-class athletes shortlisted for the 2017 Play for Change Award

The Play for Change Award will be presented to a top-class athlete, who is responsible for extraordinary social responsibility work through supporting, funding and advocating worthy campaigns, initiatives and projects for vulnerable children through sport.

This award, part of our main fundraising event TV Sports Awards, highlights the power of sport in making a difference to the lives of children and communities around the world, which is the vision of the Play for Change Charitable Trust.

Three deserving nominees have been shortlisted for their innovative work with children and communities by a panel of experts in the Sport for Development field, which consists of Lord Bates (Member of the UK House of Lords and a Minister of State at the Department for International Development), Ed Warner (Chair of UK Athletics) and Anne Wafula Strike MBE (GB Paralympian and 2016 Play for Change Award winner).

"The Play for Change Award is an opportunity to celebrate those sporting ambassadors making a difference on and off the track", Lord Bates, Play for Change Award Judge.

The three nominees are:

Lawrence Dallaglio OBE for his work with his Foundation – Dallaglio RugbyWorks  


Lawrence Dallaglio OBE, former England Rugby, Lions and Wasps Captain founded Dallaglio RugbyWorks; which is a long term intensive skills development programme, based on the values of rugby, delivered to 14 to 17-year olds outside of mainstream education to ensure they achieve sustained education, employment or training. Dallaglio RugbyWorks, a national charity working in over 40 Alternative Provision schools, was founded by Lawrence Dallaglio over 8 years ago, after having experienced a troubled time in his youth after the death of his sister, Lawrence found rugby which he credits for helping overcome a very turbulent time in his life.  

Garbine Muguruza for her work with Room to Read

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Garbine Muguruza is the current world no.1 female tennis player and is supporting Room to Read’s literacy and girls’ education programs which benefit millions of children around the world. Perseverance and confidence have been crucial to Garbine's success as an athlete and Room to Read is instilling those skills in children, especially young women, as they gain access to a quality education and unlock their full potential.

Juan Mata and his work with the Common Goal initiative


Juan Mata is the highly decorated midfielder for Manchester United and Spain and is the first footballer to get involved with the Common Goal initiative. 

Common Goal’s aspiration is to unite the football industry in the name of social change. The idea is simple. Footballers pledge 1% of their salaries to a collective fund and Common Goal allocates this fund to high-impact football charities that strengthen disadvantaged communities around the world. Juan Mata was the first player to get behind this initiative. He has since become the leader of the movement and set an example for the rest of the football industry to follow.

On the night of TV Sports Awards, trophies will be awarded in front of an audience of more than 300 leading industry figures and their guests, bringing together sport legends and delegates from Federations and clubs, who will gather to network with business and finance executives interested in investing in the world of sports, entertainment and media.

The ethos behind the TV Sports Awards is to celebrate sport, which is a powerful tool that can improve lives. All funds raised at the event will be donated to Play for Change, who use the power of sport to empower children around the world.


The 2016 Play for Change Award winner was Anne Wafula Strike MBE, for her work with Able Child Africa and her own charity Olympia Strike Foundation. Since then Anne has become an ambassador for Play for Change and has continued using her influence to create positive impacts for communities.  

“The award is not just for me, it’s for every child who makes an effort to first dream and
have a desire to be counted as a full member of a community, the volunteers and every
one that has dedicated their time in making it possible and providing a safe place for our
young people to grow and dream, for without dreams there is no ambition’.”


In 2015, Rio Ferdinand was awarded the play for Change Award for his outstanding work with the Ferdinand Foundation, which uses art, sport  and media to engage young people. Play for Change is delighted to see such renowned and inspiring athletes using their influence to make a difference. 

Please visit for more information. To support the athlete you believe has the best social good initiative please vote for them here, voting opens on 18th September and closes 13th October.