February 12, 2016 By Frank Cole in Doha, Qatar
Some 209 members of the world football governing body FIFA will converge in Zurich on 26th February for their Extra-ordinary Congress not only to vote for a new president that will run the affairs of a federation whose image has been severely bruised recently due to massive corruption involving its governance structure, but also to vote for about nine reforms geared towards restoring back the battered image of FIFA.
FIFA Acting Director of Communications and Public Affairs Division, Nicolas Maingot, during his presentation at the AIPS 79th Global Congress which ended in Doha, Qatar on Thursday 11th February, said that one of the nine proposed reforms that delegates would have to vote on is “greater recognition, participation and promotion of women in football (not promotion of women football) enshrined in the statutes”.
The reform states: “Greater recognition and promotion of women in football with a minimum of one female representative elected as a Council member per confederation; promotion of women as an explicit statutory objective of FIFA to create a more diverse decision-making environment and culture.”
Later, answering to questions from Sierra Leones’s representatives to the AIPS Congress – the Sports Writers Association of Sierra Leone (SWASAL) President Frank Cole and Financial Secretary Mohamed Konneh – on the current dismal state of the country’s football headed by Madam Isha Johansen, who happens to be the only woman in the world to hold that position, Maingot said he did not know the full details of the gridlock but however stated: “Isha Johansen is one person that has been pushing hard to promote women football.”
He denied FIFA’s backing of Mrs. Johansen based on gender as according to him, “FIFA is looking at every federation in the world.”
Analysts meanwhile are of the view that since the SLFA President is presently the only female FA President in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and the world at large, it is certain she will be elected member of the FIFA Council if this particular reform is accepted by majority of the delegates.
It can be recalled that quite recently Madam Johansen was in Kigali, Rwanda on the invitation of the CAF President, Issa Hayatou, for an Executive Committee meeting. It was also during that occasion that CAF threw its support heavily behind the Asian Soccer Federation President, Bahraini Sheikh Salman, to replace the disgraced Sepp Blatter as FIFA President in the February 26th polls.
Sheikh Salman staunchly supported Blatter during his over 16 years reign as FIFA President.
As far as the situation in Sierra Leone’s football is concern, analysts also posited that it is high time the problem was resolved since another reform that calls for a committee of stakeholders, if voted for, will give them strong representation in the ‘new FIFA’.
This particular proposed reform states: “New Football Stakeholder Committee to ensure greater transparency and inclusion through broader stakeholder representation (including players, clubs and leagues).”