FIFA named Senegalese United Nations executive Fatma Samoura its first female secretary general Friday, a first step towards modernising and improving the credibility of world football’s governing body.
Samoura will replace the suspended Jerome Valcke after an eligibility check. FIFA banned Valcke from all football activities for 12 years over his role in an alleged ticket-selling scheme on the black market. He was also charged with accepting and breaching confidentiality codes.
A 21-year veteran with the UN, Samoura has experience as a coordinator and director in several African nations. Well versed in four languages – English, French, Spanish, and Italian – Samoura will offer a fresh outlook on a sport with which she has had no previous professional contact.
“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 organisation,” president Gianni Infantino said 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. 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.”
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