February 25, 2016 / 4:06 PM / 3 years ago

UEFA opens way for a woman to sit on executive committee

The UEFA Champions League logo is seen during the draw ceremony for the 2013/2014 Champions League Cup soccer competition at Monaco's Grimaldi Forum in Monte-Carlo August 29, 2013. REUTERS/Jean Pierre Amet

ZURICH (Reuters) - At least one woman will be elected to the executive committee of European soccer’s governing body UEFA for the first time in May, delegates decided at an extraordinary Congress on Thursday.

Women’s soccer is growing in popularity around the world, and proposals to give women more say in the running of the sport were part of a package of measures drawn up by global governing body FIFA last year in the wake of a huge corruption scandal.

UEFA delegates voted to revise their statutes and reserve at least one position for a woman elected at Congress and not co-opted by the executive committee, as has been done in the past.

The first woman likely to be elected at the Congress in Budapest in May will be Karen Espelund of Norway, who has been a co-opted member of the executive since 2011.

Only one member from any country can sit on the executive committee but the statutes were changed to allow two members to sit from each country, if one is a woman.

The decisions were taken on the eve of a FIFA congress to approve an overhaul of the sport’s governance and elect a successor to the organization’s president Sepp Blatter, who this week lost an appeal to overturn a ban for ethics violations. There will be six women on the new FIFA council.

Editing by Mark Trevelyan

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