By Emily Goddard

Moya Dodd 210313March 23 - Moya Dodd, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) vice-president seeking to represent female football on FIFA's ruling Executive Committee, has claimed it is time for women to be playing a bigger role in the decision making processes at global sport governing bodies.

The Australian former player said we are living in "the modern world" and claimed it is "clearly time for women to be stepping into these roles".

"I think it's time for women to be having a bigger role in decision making in sports governing bodies around the world," Dodd insisted.

"Look at the last 50 or so years of human history and you see an irreversible trend towards women taking a greater role in decision making and authority.

"Look back 50 years, did people think women could be the boss in a factory or the chief executive of a corporation or the Prime Minister of a country?

"It was very, very rare for that to happen and now I can do things that my mother could never have dreamed of doing.

"There will be a time when gender is not relevant to the opportunities you face and, although that's not yet, there has certainly been an irreversible trend in history."

Moya Dodd is keen to close the divide between mens and womens football playersMoya Dodd is keen to close the divide between mens and womens football players

Dodd is a fervent supporter of eliminating the gender disparity in world football - both on and off the field - and even "hopes to see the day" when women can coach men's teams.

"As part of a development and gender inclusion agenda I'm very keen to see women's football and women in football," she said.

"There are a few elements to that.

"The first one is access - being able to embark on the journey and there are so many places in the world where women can't play or organise competitions or if they can it's on profoundly inferior terms.

"There's even places where you can't watch football – why live?

"Then there is pay.

"Of course there is a vast difference between what men and women are paid and in fact there aren't too many women players, even the best in the world, who are fully professional.

"And it's almost a matter of being outrageously talented or being lucky with the country you're born in if you want to be a full time professional female footballer.

"That of course depends on creating sustainable pro leagues because that's where the wages are paid.

"They've had a few goes at it, we've seen the latest incarnation [the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL)] is one where it's quite hard to play in unless you're Mexican, Canadian or from the United States.

"It's possible but it's difficult to get a gig there.

"There is a quota system.

"There are some spots for non roster national players but they could be US locals or they could be from the Far East.

"There just aren't that many spots.

"In that league it helps to be born in the right place.

"For the Ryan Giggs of the world who come from countries that probably aren't going to make a World Cup finals or in the case of women's football may not even have a national team.

"If you're an outrageously talented player from East Timor you've got almost no chance of making a career in football because your national team is not on the map and there is no official club football that's very accessible.

"There's a long way to go in that story but if you fundamentally believe that women's football is a great product to watch and consume, which I do, even when it's produced largely by part timers and amateurs right now.

"Even Birgit Prinz was working 20 hours a week as a physio throughout her international career.

"She was an extraordinary player with two Women's World Cup but even she was not a full time pro.

"So imagine the Leo Messis and Wayne Rooneys of the world, how good would they be if they were working in a shoe store selling shoes for half of their week?"

Dodd is up against three other challengers for the position on the FIFA Executive Committee.

Lydia NsekeraLydia Nsekera was given the role on an interim basis after modification of the FIFA Statutes at the 2012 Congress in Budapest

President of the Burundi Football Association and International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Lydia Nsekera - who has held the position on an interim mandate since May 2012 - leads the candidates, alongside secretary general of the Turks and Caicos Islands Football Association Sonia Bien-Aime and New Zealand Football audit chairwoman Paula Kearns.

Asked what she can bring to world football's governing body, Dodd noted that both her undeniable passion for the sport and her professional experience off the pitch stand her in good stead in the election race.

"First of all I've been a player, having played at the grassroots and up to international level, and a player's perspective and someone who has loved the game from the grassroots up, literally, is important in decision making in football," Dodd said.

"I've got experience on Executive Committees at national and federation levels and I was the first woman elected to both the FFA (Football Federation Australia) and the AFC, and that in itself has taught me what you need to do to win respect and be able to make a contribution in those sorts of environments.

"I've got a professional background in law and in business that will bring principle, analytical decision making perspectives to the top table in FIFA.

"And as a lawyer you learn how to negotiate, which ultimately means building consensus around some kind of agreed action.

"That too is important in football because it's an amazingly diverse world, it's part of its richness and it's also part of its challenges."

The winner of the election, which is due to be held during the FIFA Congress in Mauritius on May 31, will hold the role until 2017.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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