Fifa appoints Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura as its first woman secretary general


Fifa appointed its first female and non-European secretary general on Friday night after ­announcing that United ­Nations humanitarian co-ordinator Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura would replace the disgraced Jérôme Valcke.

New president Gianni Infantino confirmed that the Senegalese, a 21-year veteran of UN programmes, would become the most powerful official in world football during Fifa’s annual congress in Mexico City.

Infantino had previously promised to consider both a woman and an African for the role – and he delivered on both counts.

Gianni Infantino - Fifa appoints Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura as its first woman secretary general
Fifa president Gianni Infantino has given the Senegalese the thumbs up

Samoura said: “Today is a wonderful day for me and I am honoured to take on the role. 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 under way 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.”

Jérôme Valcke - Fifa appoints Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura as its first woman secretary general
Jérôme Valcke was sacked in January CREDIT: AP

Samoura’s appointment is pending an eligibility check administered by Fifa’s independent review committee, set up to vet senior officials in the wake of the corruption scandals that have engulfed the organisation.

Samoura, who is expected to commence her duties within a month, could find herself earning more than Infantino himself under a new wage structure set up to limit the powers of the president.

Infantino said: “Fatma is a woman with international experience and vision who has worked on some of the most challenging issues of our time.

“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. No one exemplifies what we need more than Fatma does, and we are thrilled that she has joined our team.”

Valcke, former president Sepp Blatter’s right-hand man, was sacked in January before being banned for 12 years in February over his role in various scandals.