FIFA has appointed the first woman to its executive committee in its attempt to address a gender imbalance and reform world football's governing body.
Lydia Nsekera, president of the Burundi Football Association, was co-opted onto the Executive Committee on Tuesday (22nd May) and will be formally installed as a member at the FIFA Congress in Budapest on Friday, FIFA said in a statement.
Nsekera is already a member of FIFA committees for women's football, the women's World Cup and the organising committee for the Olympic football tournaments.
The appointment of Nsekera comes 11 months after the European governing body of football, UEFA, announced the appointment of a woman, Norwegian Karen Espelund, to its Executive Committee “as a member by invitation”.
The UEFA decision has come about in part as the result of an ongoing UEFA and FARE initiative to identify the issues of the lack of representation of women and ethnic minorities within the higher echelons of football.
In 2011 a seminar co-hosted by the Dutch FA (KNVB) examined the issue of institutional discrimination in Amsterdam as new research surveying the representation of women and ethnic minorities was launched.
The formalities of the FIFA appointment will take place on 25 May, at the 2012 FIFA Congress.
FARE Board member Yvette Jarvis welcomed the appointment, “This is great to see, we are pleased that FIFA has taken this small but significant step to appoint a women to its highest body.
“We are positive that the message this appointment sends will be heard globally and will have an impact on challenging discrimination against women and in opening up closed practices at all levels. It must the collective aim of all of us to ensure that we can channel the power of women to realise their professional, personal and social goals. Women have the capability to lead.”