Former England cricket captain Alastair Cook and ex-England rugby skipper Bill Beaumont head an illustrious sporting list by receiving knighthoods in the New Year Honours.
And England’s achievement in reaching the soccer World Cup semi-finals in Russia earlier this year is recognised with an OBE for manager Gareth Southgate, while captain and the 2018 tournament’s top goal-scorer Harry Kane gets an MBE.
Southgate is joined as an OBE recipient by cyclist Geraint Thomas, who won the Tour de France in July and was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year earlier this month.
Four-time Ashes winner Cook, 34, is the first England cricketer to be knighted since Ian Botham in 2007.
He retired from international cricket this summer, scoring a 33rd Test century on his final England appearance against India at The Oval. He has compiled more Test centuries and runs – 12,472 – than any other England player during a record 161 Test matches.
“I am hugely honoured and proud to be receiving a knighthood,” said Cook in a statement to Press Association Sport.
“Many people have helped me during my career and without them and fantastic team-mates and coaches it would not have been possible to achieve all that I have.
“I want to thank all those who have been involved and supported me and my family. I will continue to be involved with cricket and intend to try and show what a positive effect sport can have on everyone’s lives.”
England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Colin Graves, in a statement released to Press Association Sport, said: “Alastair Cook has given so much to English cricket and I’m delighted that he has received this honour.
“It’s a fitting tribute to a man who has led with distinction on and off the pitch ever since he made his England debut.”
While Cook is honoured for services to cricket, 66-year-old Beaumont is recognised for services to rugby.
He led England to a Five Nations Grand Slam in 1980 and also captained the British and Irish Lions. He is a former Rugby Football Union chairman and was elected chairman of World Rugby in 2016.
Beaumont told Press Association Sport: “I was very proud when I got the envelope three or four weeks ago saying I was being recommended for a knighthood.
“I just thought ‘wow!’ To think that I would be mentioned alongside the great sports people who have been knighted was very humbling.”
Southgate said in a statement to Press Association Sport: “I’m an incredibly proud Englishman so having had the opportunity to have represented my country as a player more than 50 times and then to manage the team at a World Cup has been an absolute privilege.”
Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore, who has headed the organisation for almost 20 years and will shortly step down from his role, has been awarded a CBE.
And there is also a CBE for Willie John McBride, the former Ireland and British and Irish Lions captain, who played in a record 17 Lions Tests and skippered them to a memorable Test series victory over South Africa 44 years ago.
World Curling Federation president Kate Caithness, meanwhile, receives a CBE for services to sport, and her fellow Scot – Commonwealth Games Federation president Louise Martin – is made a Dame.
The diplomatic service and overseas list, meanwhile, includes a CBE for England netball star Geva Mentor, who was part of the memorable Commonwealth Games gold medal triumph on the Gold Coast earlier this year and currently plays for Melbourne outfit Collingwood Magpies in the Suncorp Super Netball league.
There is an OBE for ex-Scotland rugby union international Doddie Weir, founder of the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation who is battling motor neurone disease, for services to rugby, motor neurone disease research and to the Scottish Borders community.
Tottenham striker Kane is joined on an extensive MBE list by the likes of Rangers and Northern Ireland defender Gareth McAuley, former Arsenal and Football Association vice-chairman David Dein, who is honoured for services to football and voluntary work in schools and prisons, three-time world darts champion John Lowe and Welsh triathlete Helen Jenkins.
Leroy Rosenior, vice-president of Show Racism The Red Card, receives an MBE for services to tackling discrimination in sport, and Women’s Sport Trust co-founder Joanna Bostock is honoured for services to gender equality in sport.
There are MBEs for British Rowing’s three-time Olympic silver medallist Frances Houghton for services to rowing and former England cricketer Matthew Maynard for services to charity and sport.
Elsewhere, MBE recipients include former England cricketer Enid Bakewell, British Athletics team manager Lorna Boothe, former Great Britain hockey player Karen Brown, British curling director and British Olympic Association board member Hew Chalmers, Scottish volleyball coach Thomas Dowens and UK Athletics Paralympics head coach Paula Dunn.