Former FIFA advisers charge blatant sexism in governing body's leadership
Three former members of FIFA's Independent Governance Committee (IGC) cite blatant sexism within the organisation as another reason the sport's governing body will never publicise its investigative report into alleged World Cup corruption, according to a report.
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Alexandra Wrage, who left the IGC in April of 2012, told CNN she pitched the idea of including a woman in the task force eventually led by prosecutor Michael Garcia, but was silenced by two senior FIFA employees during the world governing body's congress in Budapest that same year.
The IGC's role was to draw up a final list of candidates to lead the independent probe into the bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, which were awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively.
"I turned from the group to face them and one of the men told me, 'Stop putting women forward for these positions.' He told me they would not be acceptable and that I was fighting the wrong battle," Wrage told CNN. "I didn't really take in what he was saying and then it hit me.
"I said, 'Did you really just say that?' I was startled. They started to elaborate on their views and gave me more and more details.
"I was the only woman at the table and they were directing their views just at me."
Two fellow IGC members, Guillermo Jorge and Mark Pieth, also told CNN that FIFA's Executive Committee would be very unlikely to appoint a woman.
Jorge told CNN he was seated next to Wrage during the discussion over the possibility of female nominations.
He confirmed to CNN that the two senior FIFA employees said it would be very unlikely that the FIFA Ex Co would appoint a woman because FIFA is still very unbalanced in gender terms.
Pieth, who chaired the IGC until its final report in April 2014, said: "It is true that FIFA was not keen to elect women into these positions."
FIFA defended its support of women via statement, but reiterated that there was no place for women leading the investigation.
"At the time the president [Sepp Blatter] has explained that the candidate would have the full support of the football world," the spokesperson told CNN.
"It is about acceptance. Unfortunately, a female may find it difficult to lead an investigation in certain parts of the world.
"That's unfortunate but you have to look at what will be acceptable to the majority of people within football throughout the world.
"The investigator would be working at all levels of football in dealing with ethics.
"The president hopes that there will be more women in leading positions in football.
"There are already three women on the Exco [Executive Committee] and that shows FIFA's commitment to women and their importance."
Last month, Blatter addressed the World Summit on Ethics in Sports and spoke of FIFA's "exemplary organization in ethics."