The award of a CBE for the Sport England vice-chairman Tessa Sanderson in the New Year's Honours yesterday led to accusations that the former chairman Trevor Brooking has been deliberately snubbed by the Government.
Brooking has not received any recognition for his eight years at Sport England, including four as chairman until he stepped down just over a year ago, and is the only person who has headed the organisation not to be knighted.
The former England footballer had been fiercely critical of the Government's funding of sport, and many people within sports administration view the decision to honour Sanderson for her contribution but ignore Brooking again as a deliberate snub.
Sir Rodney Walker, formerly the chairman of both Sport England and UK Sport, said: "I don't believe it's up to me to comment about Tessa's award, but I do hope that Trevor's contribution to sport in so many ways will eventually be properly recognised."
Another leading sports administrator added: "No one is saying Tessa Sanderson does not deserve the award, but it is clear Trevor Brooking has been punished for speaking out."
Sanderson, the former Olympic javelin gold medallist, said: "I'm really, really ecstatic. It's been hard work keeping schtum."
The World Cup-winning England rugby coach, Clive Woodward, leads the sporting honours with a knighthood. There is a CBE for the captain, Martin Johnson, and OBEs for the fly-half, Jonny Wilkinson, and the record-breaking prop, Jason Leonard. Every other member of the squad is recognised with an MBE.
Among the OBEs are the tennis player Tim Henman and the Celtic manager, Martin O'Neill. The former boxer Michael Watson is made an MBE for services to disabled sport, and there is the same honour in cricket for the Gloucestershire captain, Mark Alleyne. The swimmers James Gibson and Katy Sexton and the yachtswoman Emma Richards all receive MBEs.Reuse content