MELBOURNE: Moya Dodd has taken a diplomatic approach to the imminent changes at the Asian Football Confederation which will kill off her status as female vice-president writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

As revealed here last month [], this is one of consequences of proposals to restructure the organisation of the AFC regions expected to be approved by an extraordinary congress here tomorrow.

Australian Dodd is one of the two co-opted female members of the executive committee of FIFA. Her term ends in May with no clear indication yet about what the future may hold for a woman considered one of the world federation’s reformist voices.

Australia will be hosting the finals for the first time

This is especially intriguing ahead of a May election in which long-serving Sepp Blatter is seeking to extend his command in the face of a challenge from reformist Asian vice-president Prince Ali of Jordan.

Prince Ali’s statement of intent, earlier this week, has irritated others within the AFC hierarchy who had hoped for a smooth run beyond tomorrow’s decisions and into the imminent Asian Cup action in Australia.

Cup opener

Tomorrow’s extraordinary AFC congress will tick off all the changes devised by president Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa  ahead of the evening’s Cup opener between Australia and Kuwait.

Dodd, in a statement on her Facebook page, took a positive view of balancing the end of the female vice-presidency against the increase of women’s positions on the AFC executive from four to five.

This is in line with a proposal to increase the number of AFC regions from four to five with each region mandated to representation on the governing body by at least one woman.

Dodd described the overall anticipated outcome “a new benchmark in gender equity for football governance.”

The changes will create a fifth region by splitting the current south/central zone into separate central and south entities. Each geographic zone will continue to have one vice-president, and at least one female member on the AFC exco.

As Dodd put it: “The total number of seats on the AFC ExCo will increase from 24 to 25 . . . while there will no longer be a designated female vice-president in AFC, this package of amendments means that there will be an additional woman at the AFC exco table, and the proportion of women will increase from four out of 24, to five out of 25.

“AFC will be the first international football governing body to mandate fully 20pc of its exco membership as female.”

Formal approval

The amendments have already been approved by the AFC legal committee and the exco – Dodd being a member of both – and will go on to congress in May for formal approval.

As Dodd pointed out: “Women can, of course, stand for any of the zonal Vice President positions and I would hope that in time we will see women elected to such roles.”

She hoped she would not prove to have been the last female vice-president of AFC but, given the attitude to women in sport in some member countries, a significant amount of time may yet elapse before a successor takes her place.

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