Fifa named a Senegalese UN diplomat as its first ever female secretary general on Friday, a surprise and historic move announced at a congress to overhaul the scandal-plagued organisation.
Fatma Samoura, 54, comes from outside the football world, having worked with the United Nations for 21 years. She is currently based in Nigeria for the UN Development Program.
Fifa president Gianni Infantino, who announced her appointment during the annual congress in Mexico City, said his future No 2 was “a great person” with experience managing big organisations, budgets and staff.
“We have to be serious when we say we embrace diversity and we believe in gender equality,” Infantino said.
“She will bring a fresh wind to Fifa, somebody from outside, not somebody from inside, not somebody from the past but somebody new.”
Samoura will take her post by mid-June after undergoing an eligibility check administered by an independent review committee.
“Today is a wonderful day for me, and I am honoured to take on the role of Fifa’s secretary general,” Samoura, who has also worked at the World Food Program, said in a statement.
“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.”
The former secretary general, Jerome Valcke of France, was sacked 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 hit Fifa.