Fifa should consider female president, says Sarah Powell

Sarah Powell
Sarah Powell was appointed chief executive of Sport Wales in 2013

Sport Wales chief executive Sarah Powell believes there should be no barriers to a woman taking over as head of Fifa.

World football's governing body will have to elect a new president following the resignation of Sepp Blatter in the wake of a corruption probe.

There are currently three women on Fifa's 27-person executive committee.

"Women bring as much as men. There's no reason why they shouldn't," Powell told BBC Wales Sport.

Asked if she would like to see a woman elected as the new president, Powell added: "I think the key question is 'Why not?'"

Blatter was re-elected as president last week, despite seven top Fifa officials being arrested in the corruption investigation.

Announcing his exit, 79-year-old Blatter, who has been in power for 17 years, said: "My mandate does not appear to be supported by everybody."

He plans to carry on his duties until a replacement can be elected.

Many see Blatter's departure as a chance for greater reform and modernisation within Fifa.

Sepp Blatter
Sepp Blatter succeeded Joao Havelange as Fifa president in 1998

As head of the governing body that is responsible for developing many of Wales' leading athletes, Powell believes Fifa needs to catch up with other organisations that have more women occupying top jobs.

"That's what I would expect to see. We are 50% of the population," said Powell, speaking at the UK Coaching Summit held in Cardiff.

"If you get the right policies and procedures in place…then absolutely. Why shouldn't a woman take the role?"

Powell added: "I wouldn't just talk about football specifically. I think it [more women on executive boards] is crucial for sport.

"We've had a huge agenda in getting diverse boards in place.

"Our chair, Laura McAllister, has been one of the biggest advocates in tackling that.

"Our board now has got a 55% gender split, we've also got 17% BME [Black and Minority Ethnic] and this is what we expect to see all boards reflecting.

"That's not because it's a target, it's because it's the right thing. Diverse boards are better boards.

"So I would hope that football look to do that themselves as well."

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