Moya Dodd, second from right, spoke candidly about women’s football issues at Soccerex today (INSIDER)

(WFI) Moya Dodd, one of the most influential women in world football, says FIFA’s 209 football associations should include more women on their ruling bodies.

The Australian, who was co-opted as a FIFA Exco member at the governing body;’s congress last year, was asked if introducing quotas for women on FA executive committees was a good thing.

“In football, the view was formed in the AFC and FIFA that if you waited for a system to produce women [organicially], you would have to wait a very long time,” she told the Soccerex Asian Forum.

“I wouldn’t be sitting here if it were not a quota-based system introduced in 2006 [at the AFC].”

Last year, Lydia Nsekera, was elected to a seat on FIFA’s ExCo for a four-year term, with AFC vice president Dodd and CONCACAF’s Sonia Bien-Aime, CEO of the Turks and Caicos Islands FA, co-opted for a year on FIFA’s ruling body. Nsekera has since been ousted as head of the Burundi FA.

Dodd told Soccerex that quotas for women were important if those elected “are able to genuinely contribute to the game”.

She called for all member federations of FIFA to follow the quotas system put in place by Sepp Blatter’s organization.

Dodd noted that many federations worldwide had executive committees featuring women.

“But to ask each member association to adopt a minimum of one woman on the ExCo would be a positive thing,” she said.

Praise for Return of Hijab

Dodd also spoke about how lifting of the hijab ban had empowered women’s football.

The International Football Association Board, football’s rule-making body which is made up of Britain’s four FAs and FIFA, dropped the ban in 2012.

Prince Ali of Jordan, who was elected to FIFA’s top table in 2011, led the campaign to have the ban removed.

“If you believe there are women oppressed by having to cover are you excluding or adding to their oppression,” Dodd said, “the fundamental principle is everyone is better off if they can participate in the world’s most popular sport”.

Despite the IFAB ruling, the French Football Federation decided to outlaw the hijab for women playing for France or in organised competitions

Asked about Frances’s position on the issue, Dodd said: “I would like to see women free to play all over the world. People should be able to participate fully and freely whoever they are, whatever their culture or religion.”

Samar Nassar, CEO of Jordan’s U17 FIFA Women’s World Cup 2016 organising committee, told the conference that until it was lifted, the ban on Muslim women wearing the hijab had stopped “so many women from the Asian continent playing the game”, adding that the campaign ‘Let us play” had had a big impact.

Dodd on Sexism

Earlier in the day, Dodd blasted English Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore in comments to INSIDER following a sexism scandal. His crude comments about women were made in a private email exchange leaked to the Sunday Mirror.

She was asked by a delegate for her reaction to the Scudamore scandal.

Dodd said the challenge for the game was “to make sure the game is open and inclusive to everyone”.

“The next time you hear people speaking like that in your football environment, the next time you hear a derogatory comment about a woman, I think you should challenge it,” she urged delegates.

Speaking further about discrimination in the football workplace, she also condemned men using the characteristics of a woman to mock other men, saying it was “hurtful and offensive”.

By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson

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