PORT LOUIS: Lydia Nsekera made history today as the first women elected to the executive committee of world football federation FIFA in its 109 years writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The president of the Burundi football federation was already a member of the exco but only through the expedient of having been co-opted last year on the insistence of president Sepp Blatter.
This time around she was chosen to continue by election at FIFA Congress in which she was challenged Asia’s nominee Moya Dodd from Australia and by Sonia Bien-Aime, general secretary of the Turks and Caicos federation.
Nsekera polled 95 votes followed by Dodd 70 and Bien-Aime 38. Consolation for Dodd, a vice-president of the Asian confederation, and Bien-Aime was in both being co-opted on to the FIFA executive committee for one year.
Paula Kearns of New Zealand had withdrawn on the eve of Congress.
The vote had preceded by a significant amount of backbiting among leaders of the various confederations. This was sparked by a concern that the vote involved political considerations reaching as far as the presidential vote in 2015.
Nsekera thus brought with her the advantage of an African constituency though, as she made clear in her pre-vote address, she had all the qualifications.
She had told Congress: “You all know how committed I am to football as president of the Burundi football federation since 2004 and I have been a member since 2009 of the IOC and a member of its women in sport committee.
“As I have for a long time, I will continue to raise awareness for women in sport to maintain their training. I also want to raise awareness among women so they can be elected to leadership bodies.”
Also raising the status of women at administrative levels at the top of world football was the election earlier of South African Sindi Mabaso-Koyana as deputy chairman of the audit and compliance committee.
Mabaso-Koyana, 43, is group chief financial officer of Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa and is a former executive partner at Ernst & Young.