Moya Dodd, Fifa Executive member (co-opted) Australian Football Federation member, Asian Football
Confederation Vice President says it is time for the other half of the population, women, to enjoy the wonderful game, soccer. And to catch up, federations, NGO’s and Governments have to play a big role to make this happen. As special guest during the Discover Football Campaign in Rio de Janeiro from July 3-7 she stresses that federations have to plan and invest in women football. In an interview with Leocadia Bongben the Fifa Legal Committee member who has contributed a lot through a task force on the amelioration of women football hopes Fifa principles would give federations a road map to develop women football especially through planning.

Read the excerpts:

This is a Discover Football Campaign to encourage more women to play football, how did you come here today?
I came here because I had met the organisers at various football events and conferences around the world. I have a keen interest in showing the promotion of women’s football and I know much of it is through member federations, confederations and through Fifa itself but, also non-governmental organisations playing that role and helping that to occur and to improve the position of women in society generally.

But we all Know women’s football in Brazil and Africa has not reached the level of men’s football, what explains this situation?

In many big football countries like England, Brazil and Germany women football was banned at different times and women had a later start in football than the men. Men’s football is already big and established and it is a great game, it is too good a game not to share with everybody in the world, but it is time for the other half of the population to enjoy this wonderful game as well. To catch up many people have a role to play, NGOs, member federations and governments have a big role to play to make this happen.

Talking about the big role, how can the ten principles of female football Fifa adopted in June 2014 help in the catching up?
My hope is that this will set a road-map for member federations to begin on a path to developing women football, to have a plan for the game, include former players in running the game, develop expertise in women football, to include women in their executive committee and in decision making roles and see the game as a real source of growth for football generally and also to make football better and richer by including women in it.

When we look at the principles, they are too good, too big but if these are not implement at the local level what will happen?
There are always challenges of implementation but the best thing is to have the principles, a road-map and a plan. The principles ask member federations to have a plan for women football, to provide it to Fifa and have it approved by the executive committee and monitored overtime. I am very hopeful that this will encourage member federations to do exactly that, to start to plan for the game and to give it the resources needed to thrive.

Though you are not form the African Zone, what is your perception of women football in Africa?
I think there is a great deal of potential in women football in Africa. The level of participation and formal structures are not there yet, but formal structures of competition can be created. In the U-17 World Cup qualifiers, there were three participating teams from Africa and six countries participated in the qualification. Obviously there is a great potential for participation for the three position and I am hopeful that the principles of women football would help federations plan out how they are going to do that and give those who are already in the game the means to step out and be part of something bigger which is the growth of women’s football in Africa.

What advice for the growth of women’s football; the way forward?

The first principle is the most important, have a plan. Without a plan it is like being stuck to the wall and it is worth noting that coordinated action is much more powerful, like have a plan and coordinate it. That is how Germany and Japan got to be the leaders in women’s football because they had a plan and worked towards it. Don’t be concerned about results; think about development, the right plan for the country and how to implement it.

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