Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura has been appointed as FIFA’s first female secretary general. The 51-year-old Nigerian-based Senegalese United Nations diplomat will be succeeding former secretary general Jerome Valcke, who has been banned from football-related activity for 12 years.
FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, who announced Samoura’s appointment at FIFA’s congress in Mexico City on Friday, said Samoura will resume work at football’s governing body in June. He expressed confidence in her human resources ability which he believe will bring a fresh wind to the football governing body.
“It is essential FIFA incorporates fresh perspectives as we continue to restore and rebuild our organisation. She has a proven ability to build and lead teams, and improve the way organisations perform. Importantly for FIFA, she also understands that transparency and accountability are at the heart of any well-run and responsible organisation.
“She is used to managing big organisations, big budgets, human resources, finance. She will bring a fresh wind to FiFA, somebody from outside not somebody from inside, not somebody from the past. Somebody new, somebody who can help us do the right thing in the future.”
Samoura started her UN career as a senior logistics officer with the World Food Programme in Rome in 1995 and has since served as country representative or director in six African countries, including Nigeria.
She speaks four languages (French, English, Spanish and Italian), and has no previous experience in sports but will have to undergo an eligibility check before her role is finally ratified.
She had this to say after her appointment:
“Today is a wonderful day for me, and I am honoured to take on this role. This role is a perfect fit for my skills and experience – strategic, high-impact team building in international settings – which I will use to help grow the game of football all over the world.
“I also look forward to bringing my experience in governance and compliance to bear on the important reform work that is already underway at FIFA. FIFA is taking a fresh approach to its work – and I am eager to play a role in making that approach as effective and lasting as possible.”