Dodd: A fantastic opportunity

Australian Moya Dodd speaks exclusively to FIFA.com as part of a series of interviews with the four candidates vying to become the first woman to be elected on to FIFA’s Executive Committee.

FIFA.com: Can you introduce yourself?
Moya Dodd: I was born in Adelaide, Australia, and now live in Sydney. I played for the Australian international team between 1985 and 1996 and served a spell as vice-captain. Currently, I’m a partner at a law firm, as well as serving as AFC Vice-President, on the ExCo of Football Federation Australia and on the Legal Committees of both FIFA and AFC. I have previously worked in digital media and as an economic consultant. I was also a media commentator during Germany 2006.

What importance do you attach to being nominated by your confederation?
For me, it means the chance to work with football’s governing body to accelerate the development of women’s football. I have played the game since I was a kid, and I played for my national team. I’m passionate about bringing the game to women and girls - the “other half” of the population who have historically had very limited opportunities in football. I would love to work within FIFA to bring that dream to life at a global level.

How did you react to the FIFA President’s proposal in 2011 to have a woman on the Executive Committee?
It’s fantastic. It’s an opportunity for the women’s game - female footballers, coaches, referees and fans - to be represented right at the top of FIFA where the big decisions are made.

If you were elected, how would you see your role?
Whoever takes this seat must work effectively with FIFA by being a persuasive advocate for women in football. Importantly, she should have a role in connecting the women’s football community around the world. As well as being a leader in women’s football, she must also contribute to the game more generally. Executive Committee members typically serve on committees where they have special skills. I am currently on the FIFA and AFC Legal Committees, and I would hope to continue making a contribution beyond the women’s game (just as I hope the male Executive Committee members would continue to feel responsibility for the women’s game).

What is your vision for women’s football?
My vision is for accelerated football development so that every girl and woman can understand and play football and gain the immeasurable benefits that it brings. To provide elite pathways to professionalism, so that the best players can be visible role models and play in commercially sustainable pro leagues and international tournaments around the world; and participation of women in the decision-making bodies in football at all levels and across all areas of the game.

To me, women’s football is a pure, fresh and spontaneous form of football to watch. We see very little simulation or referee abuse, and plenty of good examples of respect and sporting spirit. There are more goals and less cards. Women’s football can help create a freshened, positive image for football globally. One day, football should be as usual for women and girls as it is for men and boys.

We’d like to ask you some personal questions based on the ‘Proust Questionnaire’ so that we can find out more about you. What is your motto?
Never say die.

Who is your favourite heroine of all time?
In recent history, I most admire Aung San Suu Kyi because of her incredible courage in aligning actions with principles.

And in football?
April Heinrichs, Silvia Neid, Steffi Jones, Sun Wen, Jessie Fan, Hesterine de Reus, Vera Pauw, Carolina Morace, Hope Powell, Jitka Klimkova, Pia Sundhage.

Which match will you always remember?
The 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final. Quite simply, the best World Cup final ever.

What is your favourite word?
Imagine.

The word that you hate the most?
Fail.

This interview will be published to coincide with International Women’s Day on 8 March. Is this day important to you?
International Women’s Day always gives me mixed feelings. On one hand, there is so much to celebrate. A century ago, hardly any women could vote, be educated, or hold office. Now we have women contributing at the highest levels of business, politics and community. But while we can do things our mothers and grandmothers never could, there is a long way to go before our sons and daughters will have truly equal chances. International Women’s Day reminds me of how important it is to give women and girls the chance to fully participate, in football and in society.