By Andrew Warshaw
May 16 – Asian football’s new female FIFA Council member, whose election last week was given little fanfare amid the maelstrom of the FIFA Congress in Bahrain, says she aims to elevate the game throughout the Continent despite her relative inexperience on the international stage.
Mahfuza Akhter Kiron, little known outside her native Bangladesh, surprisingly beat Australia’s Moya Dodd as AFC members opted to give South Asia greater representation at the top table of regional administration.
Mahfuza has not yet had the chance to give the media a full explanation of how she won the vote. Earlier this year journalists in Bangladesh boycotted a press conference with her about the national women’s team after being accused of publishing negative reports. She apparently enforced an embargo on women players speaking with the media.
In the end it did little to adversely affect the election vote which she won 27-17 and her confederation has been quick to list her achievements in the game.
“Mahfuza was the first graduate from the FIFA Female Leadership Programme to make the journey to the FIFA Council. In addition, she has also completed the UEFA Leadership Programme as well as being recognised in her native Bangladesh with a special award in April for her contribution to the development of women’s sport,” the AFC said.
“It is a wonderful moment for not only Bangladesh but also for the south zone of the AFC. We have around a third of the world’s population in the South Zone and it is important that they have a voice at the top table of sport – especially as football is developing rapidly in countries like India and my own Bangladesh,” she said
“I have been particularly pleased at the development of women’s football in the region and proud of the progress that the Bangladesh women’s team has made. I moved from being a sport fan to being an administrator because I wanted to eliminate the barriers to women taking part in sport. That and developing women’s sport remains my objective in football.”
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