Senegal’s Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura, a United Nations veteran, became the first woman to be named as secretary general of soccer’s world governing body FIFA on Friday.
The 52-year-old, currently the U.N. Development Programme Resident Representative in Nigeria, will be responsible for the day-to-day running of FIFA which has been battered by corruption scandals over the past few years.
She replaces Frenchman Jerome Valcke, who was fired in January and has since been banned for 12 years for ethics violations which included using FIFA expenses for sightseeing trips and destruction of evidence.
Samoura’s appointment as effectively FIFA’s second most powerful official was announced at the Association’s Congress by president Gianni Infantino, elected in February to lead the soccer federation out of the worst graft scandal in its history.
“Fatma is a woman with international experience and vision who has worked on some of the most challenging issues of our time,” he said in a statement issued by FIFA.
“Importantly for FIFA, she also understands that transparency and accountability are at the heart of any well-run and responsible organisation.
“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,” he added.
Samoura began her United Nations career with the World Food Programme in Rome in 1995 and has served as country representative or director in six African countries.
“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,” she said.