FIFA appoints first ever female Secretary-General

Fatma Samoura, a Senegalese UN official who has worked across Africa for two decades, is due to assume her new role in June.

FIFA has broken new ground by appointing a Senegalese United Nations official as its first female and first non-European secretary-general.

Friday’s historic appointment of Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura as the number two at world football’s governing body was made at the FIFA congress in Mexico City.

Samoura, 54, is currently based in Nigeria for the United Nations Development Program and has worked across Africa for the UN for the last two decades.

FIFA‘s new president Gianni Infantino, who was elected in February, had indicated recently that he would wait until summer to name his number two, but she will now be due to start at FIFA in June following the announcement.

“We want to embrace diversity and we believe in gender equality,” Infantino told his first FIFA Congress as president.

“She is used to managing big organisations, big budgets, human resources, finance,” Infantino told FIFA’s members. “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.”

The former secretary-general, Jerome Valcke of France, was sacked in January and banned from football for 12 years over misconduct in television deals and World Cup ticket sales – one of the many scandals that hit FIFA.

Germany’s Markus Kattner has been serving as interim secretary-general since then.

The FIFA congress is due to confirm a series of reforms aimed at cleaning up the organisation, which Infantino took over from Sepp Blatter in February after his disgraced Swiss compatriot resigned.