FIFA welcomed three female members on to its Executive Committee following a historic election at the FIFA Congress in Mauritius recently.
Lydia Nsekera earns her place on the committee after receiving the most votes (95) in the first-ever election for a female candidate and is elected for four years, while Moya Dodd (70 votes) and Sonia Bien-Aime (38 votes), will also join FIFA’s top table as co-opted members, for one year.
This follows a proposal made by the FIFA President with support from the existing members of the FIFA Executive Committee to have more females in decision-making positions within football. The landmark election marks an important step in FIFA’s two-year reform process.
Burundi Football Association President Lydia Nsekera made history last year in Budapest at the 62nd FIFA Congress when she was co-opted onto the FIFA Executive Committee as the committee’s first-ever female member on an interim one-year basis.
The 63rd FIFA Congress in Mauritius is another milestone in the history of women’s representation in the football family as the 209 members showed overwhelming approval (99 per cent) for the FIFA Statutes 2013, in particular the article 24 al.3 proposing "one candidate for the office of the female member of the Executive Committee."
Nsekera is the 25th member of the FIFA Executive Committee which was composed of 24 members until the election. Her mandate as approved by the Congress will be of four years beginning immediately. In case she permanently ceases to perform her official function, the Executive Committee may designate another female member until the next Congress as stipulated in the newly approved FIFA Statutes.
Nsekera, who was the first woman to be co-opted at last year's 62nd FIFA Congress, vowed that she will "inspire women to believe they can lead, I will push them to let their girls play football because it is a school of life, and I will support women in the Member Associations."
As proposed by the FIFA Executive Committee last month, Nsekera will be accompanied by the two other candidates as co-opted members: Bien-Aime (CONCACAF) and Dodd (AFC), raising the number of females sitting on the Executive Committee to three.
The two co-opted members, who were originally nominated by their respective confederations as candidates for the female position on the Executive Committee, are highly experienced.
Dodd was a distinguished national team player who spent nine years representing Australia and became the first female member of the Football Federation Australia's executive committee. She has also risen through the ranks of the Asian Football Confederation, an organisation in which she was recently re-elected vice-president. Dodd acknowledged before the vote that the Congress was part of a landmark occasion. “It’s a historic day for football and a great day for women," she said. "I’d like to contribute to the best governance of the game, and to fight against match manipulation and discrimination. Football is the sport everybody loves; no-one should be excluded. And we should not only protect the game, but also fight against discrimination outside of football.”
Bien-Aime, General Secretary at the Turks & Caicos Islands Football Association (TCIFA), said before the vote took place that she believed that FIFA’s decision to include a woman on its Executive Committee represented “a great move, a very welcome move". She added: "I welcome the opportunity to be elected; to be a voice giving opinion, a voice willing to listen and talk, a voice that just happens to be the voice of a woman.”