Moya Dodd on The Game Changes. The whole episode is fantastic but this part, where she talks about her role in the FIFA reform process, I find particularly helpful. The majority of the work I do for women in sport, has been from the outside. The times I’ve been most effective, made the most change, is when I’ve collaborated with those on the inside. It’s a reminder of what we can achieve, working together.
“There are a lot of voices outside. In the FIFA reform process, there were a lot of people throwing bricks at FIFA at that time. And some of them were pretty well deserved actually. I agree with much of what was being said about FIFA but it was certainly not helpful for me to say those things publicly. When you’re working on the inside you can’t throw bricks around. When you’re on the inside, it’s just not helpful. It’s not persuasive and it’s not effective.
“My benchmark is, at all times, you want to be effective. The rule I run across things is, “is this going to be effective?”
“I think to be effective, you need people working on the inside. If you’re on the outside, you don't even know where you’re aiming half the time. You don’t have the nuanced understanding of what is malleable and what is inelastic in an organisation; of who is going to be an ally on these issues, who is going to resist, how to address that resistance. What kind of arguments are going to persuade them? What fears do they hold? An insider can have a much better chance of getting to understand than you can if you’re outside. That’s not to say there is not a place for those loud voices who are demanding of change. And sometimes, to be honest, those who are working on the inside might welcome them because that can assist their argument. Those sorts of pressures from outside can really help give leverage to those who are working on the inside.
“In my case I was given an opportunity to work on the inside and I was very conscious it was a very rare and precious opportunity. Because only 3 women had got it in 180 years and I didn’t want to blow it. For the first year or so I was pretty cautious. It’s not in my nature to speak aggressively to the people I’m talking to, I don't think it’s helpful and I certainly don’t think it would have been helpful in that context. But, when the crisis hit, that was a moment when I felt it was time to put my head above the parapet a little bit higher; to be more outspoken on what I felt were the shortcomings of the organisation and what I felt needed to be done to address them.
“What was really curious about that, which surprised me, that in effect they would appropriate that narrative. You have to remember by this time, FIFA’s leadership had been swept aside and it was being run on a kind of caretaker basis by the lawyers and the crisis communications people and the accountants. They were quite happy to appropriate my narrative about this gender imbalance not being nearly good enough. And improving it would assist the organisation to be less prone to corruption and other forms of misbehaviour.
“I had more or less expected to be sidelined. I didn’t think they would hand me the mic and put me in front of a big press conference in Zurich to talk to all these assembled journalists in the big room there. That was the last thing I'd expected but when these things happen, you just have to take your chance I guess. So I did.”