Budapest (AFP) – European football’s governing body UEFA elected Frenchwoman Florence Hardouin as its first female executive member in a landmark vote at a congress in Budapest on Tuesday.
The 49-year-old Hardouin, French Football Federation (FFF) director general, won by 33 votes to 21 against her rival candidate, the former Norwegian international Karen Espelund, 55, who has been a co-opted member of UEFA’s Executive Committee since 2012.
“My role will be both as a voice of French football and of other federations,” Hardouin told AFP after the result was announced.
Both candidates had said the vote by UEFA’s 54 member associations at its annual decision-making event would be a key step in changing football’s administration in its most powerful regional confederation.
Hardouin told a press conference later that she did not aim to be a member of FIFA’s top council as well.
“I’m not a wonder woman, working for the FFF and UEFA, that will be enough,” she said.
Her focus would be on continuing the development of women’s football, she added, as well as bringing the experience France gets in organising Euro 2016 to its hosting of the women’s World Cup in 2019.
“Florence Hardouin is respected, it’s a big success for her, she is someone who will work in the interests of both football and the FFF,” Noel Le Graet, the French federation’s president, told AFP.