The FIFA council appointed Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura of Senegal as the organization’s new secretary general on Friday, making her the first female ever to work in the role.
Samoura has spent 21 years working with the United Nations, presently serving as the UN’s Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Nigeria.
Samoura will need to pass an integrity check before assuming the role. FIFA president Gianni Infantino announced the news at the FIFA Congress in Mexico City.
“Fatma is a woman with international experience and vision who has worked on some of the most challenging issues of our time,” Infantino said. “She has a proven ability to build and lead teams, and improve the way organizations perform. Importantly for FIFA, she also understands that transparency and accountability are at the heart of any well-run and responsible organization.
“It is essential for FIFA to incorporate fresh perspectives – from outside the traditional pool of football executives – as we continue to restore and rebuild our organization," President Infantino said. "No one exemplifies what we need more than Fatma does, and we are thrilled that she has joined our team.”
Samoura speaks four languages and has worked as a UN executive in six countries across Africa, including Cameroon and her current role in Nigeria. Per FIFA’s release, her duties include budgeting, human resources and procurement, overseeing a staff of around 2,000.
“Today is a wonderful day for me, and I am honoured to take on the role of FIFA’s Secretary General,” Ms Samoura said. “I believe 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.”