Football: Burundi's Nsekera is 1st woman on Fifa exco, but election process is criticised

PORT LOUIS (REUTERS) - Lydia Nsekera of Burundi became the first woman to be formally voted on to Fifa's executive committee on Friday but her election was not without its critics.

Nsekera, 46, president of the Burundi FA and a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), was co-opted on to the Fifa executive a year ago, becoming the first woman to sit at the top table since Fifa's formation in 1904.

Nsekera polled 95 votes on Friday, ahead of the 70 gained by Moya Dodd of Australia and the 38 for Sonia Bien-Aime of the Turks & Caicos Islands.

Dodd, a former Australian international player and vice-president of the Asian Football Confederation, had been widely regarded as a far stronger candidate with better credentials for the job.

One senior Fifa delegate told Reuters: "The whole system was flawed from the beginning and I am very disappointed with this decision.

"It was a ridiculous way to go about things because it obviously gave Lydia a head start. Why didn't we go for an elected position a year ago? I am not sure it was based on credentials, more on image and perception. Everyone is pandering to the African vote."

"All Lydia has ever said in a meeting was, 'Thank you for taking women's football seriously'," added the source, a Fifa executive committee member.

Another senior administrator told Reuters: "Frankly Moya Dodd, who is a practising lawyer, would have been a far better choice, especially with the continuing reform process Fifa has implemented, but Nsekera was personally chosen by president (Sepp) Blatter last year and the status quo has been maintained for obvious reasons."

Dodd though, will take her place on the executive as a co-opted member for one year, along with Bien-Aime. Nsekera will stay on the executive for a four-year term expiring in 2017.

In her election address, Nsekera told delegates: "I will continue to raise awareness for women in sport to maintain their training. I also want to raise awareness among women so they can be elected to leadership bodies."

The candidates faced a three-way election after Paula Kearns of New Zealand withdrew from the race.