Lesser Known Candidate Wins Asian FIFA Council Seat

(ATR) Also: Qatar Airways signs record sponsorship with FIFA; 2019 Asian Cup qualifier rescheduled.

(ATR) Mahfuza Kiron will represent the Asian Football Confederation on the FIFA Council as a woman’s representative, as part of AFC elections today.

Kiron, who hails from Bangladesh, ascended from the AFC Executive Committee to the FIFA council by a 27-17 vote over incumbent Moya Dodd, from Australia. Dodd served on the FIFA Council and its previous iteration the FIFA Executive Committee.

The AFC elected four total members to the FIFA Council, with Zhang Jian from China, Chung Mong Gyu from South Korea and Mariano V. Araneta Jr. from the Philippines filling out the elections. All three male candidates ran unopposed.

Questions for Kiron came after the election highlighting the relative inexperience of her candidacy. BBC reporter Mani Djazmi asked Kiron to name the most recent Women’s World Cup champions, which Kiron took three tries to answer successfully.

In a Facebook post after the election, Dodd wished her successor luck. She said it was "disappointing," not to return to the FIFA Council and gave "sincere thanks," to the associations that voted for her.

"I had hoped, through my policies and track record at FIFA, to persuade enough voting delegates to give me the job, but clearly that wasn't the case," Dodd added.

Dodd has been an outspoken advocate for women’s football and seen as the expected choice to retain her seat. Previous reporting by Grant Wahl at Sports Illustrated highlighted how women executives in FIFA have noticed a trend of relative unknowns being elected to the FIFA Council after recent rule changes.

"Who are these women being elected?" Karen Espelund, from Norway, told Sports Illustrated. "We’re seeing a tendency that women with no or limited background in football are elected."

FIFA Adds New Sponsor

The official airline of FIFA will be Qatar Airways through the year 2022.

A new partnership between FIFA and the Qatar state-run airlines was announced yesterday. As part of the agreement Qatar Airways will be an Official Partner and the Official Airline for the world soccer body. The 2017 and 2021 Confederation Cups and the 2018 and 2022 World Cups are included in the partnership.

The 2022 World Cup will be hosted by Qatar.

FIFA said that the agreement is the "largest in the history of Qatar Airways," according to a release. FIFA Secretary General Fatima Samoura said the body was "delighted" to partner with "the world’s fastest-growing airline."

"Known for introducing industry firsts, Qatar Airways is an ideal partner for FIFA as we prepare for the first-ever World Cup in the Gulf region, the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar," Samoura said. "We look forward to working hand in hand with Qatar Airways to promote FIFA competitions and football around the world."

Asian Cup Fixture Scheduled

The Malaysian National Football team will travel to North Korea to play in a rescheduled Asian Cup qualifying match.

A diplomatic row between the two countries threatened the location of the fixture, after a member of the North Korean ruling family was assassinated in Malaysia. As a result of the incident Malaysian nationals were barred from travelling to North Korea.

The fixture between the two countries was originally scheduled for March 28, but was postponed for security concerns.

The AFC gave the Malaysia and North Korean football associations until today to sort out whether or not travel restrictions were still in place. A statement from the AFC confirmed that the match could take place.

"Following confirmation from the Football Association of Malaysia that no Government travel restrictions are in place, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has agreed that the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Final Qualifying Round Group B match will now take place in Pyongyang, DPR Korea on June 8, 2017," the AFC statement said.

Written by Aaron Bauer

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