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 By John Duerden

Moya Dodd chats exclusively to ESPN FC ahead of new FIFA Council elections

Moya Dodd is aiming to be elected to the new FIFA Council on Tuesday in order to help take the world governing body, as well as women's football and Asian football, into a new era.

In a vote to be held at the Asian Football Confederation's Extraordinary Congress in Goa, India, on Sept. 27, the Australian will run against fellow AFC Executive Committee members Mahfuza Ahkter from Bangladesh and North Korea's Han Un Gyong.

The victorious candidate will become the AFC's female representative on the 37-member body that will replace the scandal-hit FIFA Executive Committee as the institution's main decision-making body.

"There is a new FIFA and a lot of turnover from the old EXCO, for one reason and another," Dodd told ESPN FC.

"There are new members, a larger body of 37 with at least six women. There are many changes and it is up to us exactly how the new FIFA looks and acts."

Dodd is a former Australian international and has been a leading figure in Asian football for a number of years. She first joined FIFA's Executive Committee in 2013, becoming known as a keen advocate for reform in Asia and the women's game.

One of those reforms stipulated that each confederation will send a female representative to FIFA's council.

"Some people can be cynical about quota positions but it is not about privilege, it is about responsibilities," said Dodd.

"Women in FIFA can help develop women's' football and make the game more inclusive. I campaigned very hard for reforms that would address women's involvement in football, some were taken up, not all, but many."

For Dodd, while much has been achieved, there is always more to do.

"One thing the women's game needs, always, is focus. It has suffered from being the 10th priority for a long time," Dodd said.

"If it is the first priority on enough people's lists then things can happen. The climate has changed for women's football in the last few years. It is now a gold star issue among member associations.

"If you are doing well then it is a positive act and it is no longer acceptable to do nothing."

Dodd has run a strong campaign on social media and welcomes the interaction with fans from around the world as well as public support from tennis legend Billie Jean King and football stars Mia Hamm and Julie Foudy.

"I've been pleasantly surprised with the reception that it has had," Dodd explained.

"On social media, there is so much interest in FIFA's future, people may not vote but they care.

"This has been a critical period in FIFA's history. It is healthy that there is a debate about future.

"All the member associations, from the biggest to the smallest, benefit from a strong FIFA. It takes revenue from the peaks of the game such as the men's World Cup to fund football development in every corner of the globe."

The AFC will have six representatives on the FIFA council. Three are already in place and as well as the female race, there are two more positions on the FIFA Council up for grabs in Goa.

Asian expert John Duerden is the author of Lions and Tigers: Story of Football in Singapore and Malaysia.Twitter: @JohnnyDuerden.


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