Commentary

Setback for soccer with Moya Dodd defeat

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.

Akhter couldn't even name the current Women's World Cup champion. She responded to BBC World Service's Mani Djazmi‏ by saying "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 Carli Lloyd, who said her "vote" was with Dodd, "This is very disappointing."

FIFA Council Women's Members:
Mahfuza Akhter (Bangladesh)
Evelina Christillin (Italy)
Lydia Nsekera (Burundi)
Sonia Bien-Aime (Turks & Caicos Islands)
Maria Sol Munoz (Ecuador)
Sandra Fruean (American Samoa)

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: Zhang Jian (China), Chung Mong Gyu (South Korea) and Mariano V. Araneta Jr. (Philippines), who won unopposed in FIFA council elections on Monday, and incumbents Kohzo Tashima (Japan) and Prince Abdullah (Malaysia).

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 Lai.

"Naturally I'm disappointed that I wasn't able to return to the FIFA Council today," Dodd said in a 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.
7 comments about "Setback for soccer with Moya Dodd defeat".
  1. Ric Fonseca, May 9, 2017 at 12:09 a.m.

    Instead of seeing it as a setback, it'd behoove soccerdom folks around the world to further strengthen their resolve and work behind the scenes to get representatives who know just what the hell our sport is all about and work for and strive like hell for inclusivity!

  2. Quarterback TD, May 9, 2017 at 12:27 a.m.

    Anyone but Jack Warner and the other croonies. Anyway she was voted in and may bring a lot to the table than most would imagine. She is from a cricketing nation so it's a good start to make some inroads to promote new soccer interest. To promote soccer we need to open up to places where soccer is not popular hence having the U17 in India and World Cup in US in 1996. It's already very hard for a lot of women in Bangladesh so lets give her all the support we can instead of putting her down.

  3. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, May 9, 2017 at 12:43 p.m.

    The world cup was in the US in 1994, not 1996.

  4. Gus Keri, May 9, 2017 at 6:02 a.m.

    Is this another "cultural war" or "West vs. East" issue? What does Morgan and Lloyd have against or know about Mahfuza? 27-17 is a solid win for a third world country candidate. Why not support a woman from the Islamic world and help spread the love of the game among the oppressed Muslim women of this world? We need more people to represent the Oppressed people of the world instead of giving more power to the privileged ones.

  5. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, May 9, 2017 at 12:44 p.m.

    Read the article - she knows so little about the game that she didn't even know who won the last womens world cup.

  6. beautiful game, May 9, 2017 at 10:07 a.m.

    Follow the campaign money.

  7. Nick Daverese, May 10, 2017 at 8:04 p.m.

    Yes in 1994 the year of the great Romario. I will be very surprised if we ever will see the men's WC ever played in America ever again. We can't keep taking FIFA to court and ever expect them to let them play here.

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