Senegal-born Fatma Samoura was FIFA's first female and non-European Secretary General
Fatma Samoura helped to transform FIFA and restore its credibility as a global governing body
Women’s football gained new impetus under her leadership
FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura will leave her role at the end of the year after seven years in which she played a pivotal role in transforming the organisation, restoring its credibility and breaking down barriers.
"It was the best decision of my life to join FIFA,” says FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura. “I am very proud to have led such a diverse team. My first word of thanks goes to Gianni Infantino for giving me this dream job. He has shown trust, understanding and an incredible level of support. It is a pleasure to work alongside someone that has transformed FIFA. FIFA today is a better governed, more open, more reliable and more transparent organisation. I will leave FIFA with a high sense of pride and fulfilment.
“I had intended to share my news first with the FIFA Council members next week but I am aware there has been growing speculation about my position in recent months. For now, I am fully focused on the preparation and delivery of the upcoming Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. I look forward to spending the next six months bringing to life the 11 objectives that President Infantino announced at the FIFA Congress in Kigali in March. From next year, I would like to spend more time with my family. I have been in love with football since I was eight years old and I feel honoured to have been on this journey.”
“It has been a privilege and an honour to work with a trailblazer in the game,” says FIFA President Gianni Infantino. “Ever since we met, I knew she would be superb for FIFA. Her passion and enthusiasm to drive change has been inspirational. Fatma was the first woman, and the first African, to be appointed to such an important position at FIFA. We respect Fatma's decision and I would like to thank her for such dedication and commitment to football. Fatma will continue to contribute towards the development of the game and its social values together with us.”
FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura in pictures
FIFA Secretary General on her first day at FIFA in 2016
FIFA Secretary General addresses staff at the Home of FIFA
The first female and non-European to hold the role as head of FIFA’s administration, Fatma Samoura was a trailblazer from the moment she stepped into the Home of FIFA to take on her new role after her appointment in May 2016 by recently-elected President Infantino. She has overseen unprecedented growth in women’s football ever since.
Fatma Samoura has overseen a complete restructure at FIFA that included the appointment of two Deputy Secretary Generals, a new and fully developed Women's Football Division, a Technical Development Division, a Chief Compliance Officer, and improved programmes for FIFA's 211 member associations.
She arrived at FIFA with more than two decades of experience working for the United Nations where she served in seven countries: the Republic of Djibouti, Cameroon, Chad, Guinea, Niger, Madagascar and Nigeria.
Working in places affected by war, violence and a lack of women's rights, she had often been struck by the way in which football, more than anything else, could persuade warring groups to lay down their weapons and bring joy even to people who were enduring terrible suffering. She realised that football was a universal language.
Players at the upcoming FIFA Women's World Cup 2023™ will enjoy the same conditions and service levels as the men at the FIFA World Cup 2022™ in Qatar. With 32 teams, it will be the biggest and best in the competition's history, providing a fitting send-off for the FIFA Secretary General when she steps down in December.