Mayan and Nasheed discuss about gender discrimination in sports

Speaker Nasheed and Mariyam Mohamed (Mayan) | Photo: Majlis

Male’, Maldives — A former Maldivian footballer and coach, Mariyam Mohamed (Mayan) speaks with the Former President and Speaker of the parliament, Mohamed Nasheed about corruption and gender discrimination in local and international sports area.

Mariyam‘S meeting with the Speaker of Parliament and Former President comes after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) found the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) guilty of discrimination against female candidates; guilty of third-party interference in violation of AFC and FIFA statutes; and guilty of a denial of justice after Mayan filed a case against AFC.

The case was brought by Mariyam, a candidate running in the AFC’s 2019 elections for a seat on the executive committee and the chance to be nominated to the council of world governing body FIFA.

The statement from Mariyam comes after she was nominated for one of five seats designated for women on the Asian Football Confederation (AFC)’s 25-member executive committee with the potential to also be elected as the sole female member from the region to sit on FIFA’s council.

According to Mariyam, she was  told by a Maldivian official two days before the AFC’s elections that she had been called to a meeting in a private room of a hotel across the road from where the election would take place. She informed that when she arrived, she said she was greeted by numerous people, including World sport powerbroker and the president of the Olympic Council of Asia, Sheikh Ahmad, who she says told her to withdraw her nomination or she would never work in football again.

Mariyam stated that as an incentive to withdraw from the election she was told she would be offered another job at either the AFC or FIFA, behaviour described by CAS as a “mixture of bribes and threats” which she declined to do so.

Mariyam stated that she strongly condemns any and all efforts in sidelining women who are outspoken.

That’s what they do not want to have in the women’s positions, people who are outspoken and trying to better this sport.

Mariyam stated.

In addition to this, Mariyam also tweeted regarding gender discrimination and voiced that “to stay silent in the face of abuse is to enable a culture of exploitation” and noted that women are more often than not subjected to scrutiny and harassment in their professional lives.

If this is a fight I need to bring to the streets, so be it; but I will no longer suffer in silence.

Mariyam stated.

While Mariyam asked AFC to investigate the incident as it was also referred to the AFC’s disciplinary and ethics committee, months went by with no resolution. This is why, Mariyam later took on this case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) where no repercussions for anyone at the AFC was taken, including for those who witnessed the encounter and attempted bribery of Mariyam.

However, after investigations CAS found that the AFC uses quotas for female representation as “a cap” rather than “a minimum”. This means that they are violating the rule of AFC “to promote the full participation of women in the 2019 AFC elections”.

This is why, Mariyam tweeted in celebration as the gender discrimination that she stood against was all proven by the CSA on January 27th, 2020.

In addition to this, it was noted that since Mariyam raised complaints regarding AFC, the Football Association of the Maldives (FAM) — where she was a former head of women’s football — had also stopped including her in any activities and shut off all correspondence with her.

Mariyam stated that she is looking forward to meet the President of Maldives, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in the coming days to discuss regarding the matter and to discuss the govt’s stand on the issues as well as the policies in place that continue to enable corruption and discrimination from within the system.