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Bangladeshi wins seat for Asian women on FIFA Council

Moya Dodd
Moya Dodd is the AFC vice president.

Mahfuza Akhter of Bangladesh has beaten Australian rival Moya Dodd for a seat on the FIFA Council reserved for an Asian woman.

Just before the Asian Football Confederation vote Monday, Palestinian and North Korean candidates withdrew.

Akhter, a member of the AFC executive committee, has a term through 2019 on the FIFA Council after beating Dodd 27-17.

Dodd served on FIFA's ruling body from 2013-16.

Dodd, who pushed for sweeping changes in FIFA's governance structure after the high-profile arrests and investigations of numerous football executives in 2015, said the result was "disappointing" but declined to label the vote as a step back for reform.

"People will interpret it in their own ways," she said.

Kiron said she has been in charge of Bangladesh's women's football program for eight years, which is, she noted, the same amount of time that Bangladesh has had a women's program. She said she would hope to improve the financial resources allocated to women's football and said being elected was "a dream come true."

Noticeably absent from Asia's meeting was Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah of Kuwait. Sheikh Ahmad is a longtime power broker in world sport who has held influential positions within football and the Olympic movement, but lost his seat after being accused in the United States Department of Justice corruption and bribery investigation.

Sheikh Ahmad has denied any wrongdoing, but resigned from his football positions -- both at FIFA and within the Asian confederation -- on April 30. As the newly-elected FIFA representative from Asia, Kiron was asked about her interactions with Sheikh Ahmad, as well as her thoughts on his resignation. She declined to comment.

Three men who were seeking three other Asian seats on the FIFA Council were confirmed by acclamation: Zhang Jian of China, Mariano Varaneta of Philippines and Chung Mong-gyu of South Korea.

The Kuwaiti sheikh denies any wrongdoing.

ESPN FC's Sam Borden contributed to this report

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