Women In Football CEO critical of Rubiales amid RFEF scandal

Women In Football CEO Yvonne Harrison had criticised Luis Rubiales’ lack of humility in a call for gender inclusivity in the workplace.

WIF recently launched the ‘Open Doors Agenda’, which calls on FIFA and the wider game to make football fully gender inclusive with a six-point plan in place to help organisations achieve change.

Harrison revealed that the catalyst for the agenda was brought on by FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s comments ahead of the 2023 Women’s World Cup, as well as the ongoing fallout of the Spanish football federation after Luis Rubiales kissed player Jenni Hermoso on the lips following the World Cup final.

And following a lack of humility and acceptance from those in high-up and executive positions, Harrison is insisting organisations question their own internal structures.

“The ‘Open Doors Agenda’ has been in the making informally since Infantino said the doors are open, tell us men what we need to do,” she said.

“We wondered how we could best address that. There is an open invitation there for change.

“You’ve asked the question and here’s our response to that.

“We’ve brought together a really concise and well thought out plan of what would make a global difference.

“This is why we exist, to push this change, but the sustained events that have happened with Spain and the lack of humility from the men high up in that organisation have really shown its importance.

“Would we be having this conversation if Rubiales had shown any remorse of humility, it has just been pure defiance from him.

“This is not just about women working in football but the impact it has on all women working in society and that is what we are championing.”

WIF’s six-point plan focuses on several areas in which FIFA and governing bodies are urged to put in place to create a more gender-inclusive workplace.

This includes the target of at least 30 per cent of members in senior decision-making bodies to be women, after it was revealed that out of 140 members of the RFEF, only six are women. 

“Our six-point agenda is in place to show organisations that, if you follow these things then it will make a significant difference not just to gender inequality but to the football industry as a whole,” added Harrison.

“We’ve set that target of 30% but what we really want is gender parity.

“However, we need to understand that change doesn’t happen instantly.

“On the FIFA council, 22 per cent are women, so to get to 30 is not a huge push and they should be striving for that.”

The agenda also includes creating independent, non-executive members and clear pathways for reporting and dealing with safeguarding issues and violations, including discrimination, abuse, and sexual harassment.

WIF represents the voice of an 8,000-strong plus community and is in place to create a positive environment for women to thrive in the world of football.

And as CEO, Harrison is nothing short of proud to help generate a platform for change in the industry she loves.

“I feel immensely proud to be leading this women-led organisation,” she said.

“The minds and consideration that has gone into this call for action is incredible because we want change not alienation.

“On a personal level, I often feel quite nervous as a woman putting myself out there and standing for what I believe in as there are always people who don’t see it.

“You have to defend your position and I passionately believe in this and giving women the ability to feel comfortable enough to speak up about injustices at work.

“We want there to be consequences for actions, including dismissal if that is appropriate.

“This isn’t just about a slap on the wrist, this is bigger than that.”

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