Zurich, Switzerland - The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) announced today that Sonia Bien-Aime, General Secretary of the Turks and Caicos Islands Football Association, has withdrawn her candidacy for the FIFA Executive Committee, opting instead to support the bid of Confederation of African Football candidate Lydia Nsekera, President of the Burundi Football Association (BFA).
"My decision to withdraw my candidacy and put my support behind Lydia is due to the respect I hold for her as the only female president among the 209 FIFA Member Associations. Given her leadership and vast experience, I feel that she is the most suitable candidate for this important responsibility as the first woman to hold an Executive Committee seat at this stage. We are creating football's history," Bien-Aime said.
"I am very happy to have the support of Sonia, a strong candidate from the CONCACAF region and, through her, the support of President Webb and CONCACAF," said Nsekera. "It is my privilege to see both Confederations joining forces."
"This genuinely generous decision by Bien-Aime shows the spirit of partnership our Confederation is proud to be working towards as the expression of collaboration we would like to replicate across the region," said CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb. "We are hopeful this marks new beginnings of camaraderie and collaboration among all Confederations."
"We at CAF have always showed our willingness to partner with CONCACAF, and not only we are grateful for President Webb and Sonia's decision, but we are also very keen to kick start a strong partnership between our esteemed organizations in all matters related to football development, including the development of women's football" said CAF President Issa Hayatou. "To further strengthen our cooperation I will also have the pleasure to lead a CAF delegation to attend the upcoming CONCACAF Congress in Panama next April 19."
Bien-Aime has been General Secretary of the Turks and Caicos Islands Football Association since 2006, and is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU), Chairperson of the CFU Women's Football Committee, member of the CONCACAF Women's Football Committee, and a member of the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Organizing Committee.
Nsekera has been a co-opted member of the FIFA Executive Committee since the 2012 FIFA Congress. In addition to her duties with the BFA and FIFA, Ms. Nsekera has been a committee member for Women's Football and the FIFA Women's World Cup, as well as a member of the Organizing Committee for the Olympic Football Tournament.
A female member will join the FIFA Executive Committee for the first time when elections take place at this year's FIFA Congress, to be held May 30-31 in Mauritius.