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African Woman Named FIFA Secretary General

  • VOA News

Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura of Senegal has been named FIFA's first female, non-European secretary general.

Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura of Senegal has been named FIFA's first female, non-European secretary general.

FIFA scored several firsts Friday with the appointment of Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura of Senegal as its first female, non-European secretary general.

The U.N. veteran Samoura brings no sports experience to football's global ruling body.

But FIFA President Gianni Infantino hopes that will help as it tries to regain the trust and credibility of the world after far-reaching corruption, bribery and financial misconduct.

"She has a proven ability to build and lead teams, and improve the way organizations perform. Importantly for FIFA, she also understands that transparency and accountability are at the heart of any well-run and responsible organization," Infantino said.

Samoura will take her post by mid-June after undergoing an eligibility check administered by an independent review committee.

The former secretary general, Jerome Valcke of France, was fired in January and banned from football for 12 years over misconduct in television deals and World Cup ticket sales — one of the many scandals that have hit FIFA.

Sepp Blatter, FIFA's president for 18 years, resigned in the wake of the investigations into widespread corruption at the organization. He was later banned from football activities for six years by sporting authorities.

Blatter was heavily criticized in 2004 by female football players after he suggested the women's game would attract more attention if players wore "tighter shorts" to promote "a more female aesthetic."

FIFA officials are meeting in Mexico for the first time since the organization passed a raft of reforms aimed at avoiding a repeat of the corruption scandal that has seen 42 soccer officials and entities indicted in the United States.

In other decisions, the FIFA Congress accepted Kosovo and Gibraltar as the newest members, taking FIFA's membership total to 211.

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