The good news is that each of FIFA's six confederations is required to be represented by at least one woman on the new FIFA council -- 37 members in all -- an improvement from the FIFA executive
committee, which had no female representation until 2013.
The bad news: Asia is represented by Bangladeshi Mahfuza Akhter
. It is bad enough that she beat Moya Dodd
, one of
the brightest male or female FIFA executives and a leading advocate of reforms in international soccer, in Monday's Asian Football Confederation election by a vote of 27-17.
couldn't even name the current Women's World Cup champion. She responded
to BBC World Service's Mani Djazmi
"Korea" and "Japan" before finally coming up with the correct answer on the third try, the USA.
Like Dodd, Akhter is a member of the Asian Football Confederation executive committee. In
Bangladesh, she has worked in women's soccer for eight years, serving on the Bangladesh Football Federation women’s committee.
Akhter has had run-ins with Bangladeshi media, who boycotted a February federation press conference
because of her presence. She criticized the media for negative
reporting and refused to allow women's players to talk to the press.
In response to that report and Akhter's election over Dodd, U.S. star Alex Morgan tweeted
, "You gotta be f***ing kidding me." Tweeted
, who said her "vote" was with Dodd, "This is very disappointing." FIFA Council Women's Members:
(Bangladesh) Evelina Christillin
(Italy) Lydia Nsekera
(Burundi) Sonia Bien-Aime
(Turks & Caicos Islands) Maria Sol Munoz
(Ecuador) Sandra Fruean
It wasn't until 2012 that the first woman -- Burundi's Lydia Nsekera
-- was co-opted on the 24-member FIFA executive
committee. A year later, she was elected to the executive committee while Sonia Bien-Aime
of Turks & Caicos Islands and Dodd were co-opted.
(Bien-Aime was later named as a FIFA
executive committee member, the Caribbean representative from Concacaf after Jeffrey Webb
's arrest on Federal corruption charges.)
Regional politics may have played a factor in
Dodd's defeat. AFC president Shaikh Salman
from Bahrain is the only representative from West Asia. The other five AFC representatives on the FIFA council members are all from East Asia:
(China), Chung Mong Gyu
(South Korea) and Mariano V. Araneta Jr.
(Philippines), who won unopposed in FIFA council elections on Monday, and incumbents Kohzo
(Japan) and Prince Abdullah
Qatar Football Association vice president Saud Abdulaziz Al Mohannadi
was banned from running by FIFA in AFC elections
that were originally supposed to take place in September 2016 but postponed in protest over FIFA's decision. Al Mohannadi was later cleared by FIFA but not in time for him to enter the election.
Powerful Kuwaiti Sheikh Ahmad
withdrew from the election after being implicated
in the Federal plea taken by Guam Football Association president Richard
"Naturally I'm disappointed that I wasn't able to return to the FIFA Council today," Dodd said
Facebook post. "I had hoped, through my policies and track record at FIFA, to persuade enough voting delegates to give me the job, but clearly that wasn't the case.
She remains a member
of the AFC executive committee and Football Federation Australia board.