Fatma Samoura is a Senegalese former diplomat and senior executive. She was appointed as the first female Secretary General of FIFA by President Gianni Infantino on 13 May 2016 and assumed her post on 20 June 2016.
Fatma Samoura previously worked in various positions at the United Nations. In 2018, Forbes ranked her Number 1 in their Most Powerful Women in International Sports list, and the BBC listed her as one of their 100 women.
FATMA SAMOURA: CAREER
After joining the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in 1995, Fatima Samoura served as Country Director for WFP in Djibouti and Cameroon and also worked at the WFP headquarters in Rome. She covered numerous complex emergencies, including Kosovo, Liberia, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, and Timor-Leste (East Timor).
On 1 November 2007, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in consultation with the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes, appointed her as Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator (DHC) for eastern Chad. She was based in the town of Abéché, located approximately 80 kilometres west of the border with the Sudan’s conflict-torn Darfur region. Chad currently hosts over 280,000 refugees and over 170,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), most of whom are in the eastern region, and she was tasked with working for their return.
The official’s functions consist in providing support and guidance to a team composed of seven United Nations agencies and over 40 international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in eastern Chad.
In June 2016 Fatima Samoura assumed the role of FIFA Secretary General responsible for overseeing the commercial and operational side of the organization. She replaced Markus Kattner, who was implicated in corruption.
Within months of landing the job, a controversy erupted in the United Kingdom over the rules forbidding the wearing of remembrance poppy symbols by players. Fatima Samoura declared on 3 November 2016 that England, Scotland and Wales would be punished if they wore the poppy on Remembrance Day, as FIFA classes it as a political symbol.
She had said:
“Britain is not the only country that has been suffering as a result of war”. “Syria is an example. My own [African] continent has been torn by war for years. The only question is ‘why are we doing exceptions for just one country and not the rest of the world?'”
UK Prime Minister Theresa May condemned FIFA and told Parliament that Samoura’s decision was “utterly outrageous”.
In 2017 attended the international Football for Friendship forum in Saint Petersburg, which coincided with the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.
By Oluwamayowa Akinyemi