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Publication Date: 
17 May 2016
Hadassah Egbedi
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“Nobody can change the past but I can shape the future.” – Gianni Infantino

In a groundbreaking move last Friday, the international governing body of football, FIFA, appointed its first female and first non-European senior executive in the person of Fatma Samoura. Samoura, who hails from Senegal, is a veteran official of the United Nations and will serve as the secretary general of FIFA.

Although, Samoura has no experience in the field of sport, she has quite an impressive résumé and a wealth of experience from being a coordinator and resident representative of programmes in the UN. Armed with these, Infantino believes Samoura will bring a fresh perspective to FIFA. “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,” Infantino said.

Following the high profile scandal of corruption that rocked the organization last year, FIFA embarked on a revamp of its governing structure; the new reforms which were approved earlier this year has the leadership separated into two arms – a council in charge of strategy and policy, and a general secretariat to supervise commercial and operational duties.

Samoura will serve as the chief executive in the general secretariat, replacing former FIFA official, Jerome Valcke. Valcke, who was the right hand man of former FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, was fired and given a 12 year ban from all soccer-related activity, for a wide-range of ethical offenses.

In a statement released by FIFA, Samoura said her new position is “a perfect fit” for her skills and experience, which is, strategic, high-impact team building in international settings. “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”, she said.

Currently, Fatma Samoura works as the resident representative for the United Nations Development Program in Nigeria where her responsibilities include, but are not limited to, budgeting, human resources, and procurement. She also coordinates the activities of about 2,000 staff members, while monitoring and evaluating the security, political and socio-economic situation and trends in the country.

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