FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura Announces Departure
Fatma Samoura, the first female and non-European Secretary General of FIFA, has revealed her decision to step down from her role at the end of this year. During her seven-year tenure, Samoura played a pivotal role in transforming FIFA and restoring its credibility as a global governing body. Under her leadership, women’s football experienced significant growth and received renewed impetus.
Samoura expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to lead a diverse team at FIFA, stating, “It was the best decision of my life to join FIFA. I am very proud to have led such a diverse team. My first word of thanks goes to Gianni Infantino for giving me this dream job.” She further acknowledged Infantino’s trust, understanding, and unwavering support, highlighting his instrumental role in the transformation of FIFA. Samoura believes that the organisation is now better governed, more open, reliable, and transparent, and she departs with a profound sense of pride and fulfilment.
While Samoura had initially planned to announce her departure to the FIFA Council members next week, she decided to address the growing speculation surrounding her position. She expressed her intention to focus on preparing and delivering the upcoming Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, emphasizing her commitment to realising the objectives announced by President Infantino at the FIFA Congress in Kigali. Samoura looks forward to spending more time with her family from next year.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino lauded Samoura as a trailblazer in the game, stating, “It has been a privilege and an honour to work with a trailblazer in the game. Ever since we met, I knew she would be superb for FIFA. Her passion and enthusiasm to drive change have been inspirational.” Infantino expressed his respect for Samoura’s decision, thanking her for her dedication and commitment to football. He also noted that she will continue to contribute to the development of the game and its social values alongside FIFA.
As the first female and non-European to hold the position of FIFA Secretary General, Fatma Samoura spearheaded significant changes within the organisation. Since her appointment in May 2016 by President Infantino, she has overseen unprecedented growth in women’s football.
Under Samoura’s leadership, FIFA underwent a comprehensive restructure that included the appointment of two Deputy Secretary Generals, the establishment of a new and fully developed Women’s Football Division, a Technical Development Division, a Chief Compliance Officer, and improved programs for FIFA’s 211 member associations.
Prior to joining FIFA, Samoura amassed over two decades of experience working for the United Nations in various countries affected by conflict, violence, and gender inequality. Throughout her career, she witnessed firsthand how football could unite communities and bring joy even in the face of suffering, leading her to recognise football as a universal language.
The upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ will showcase the same conditions and service levels as the men’s FIFA World Cup 2022™ in Qatar, ensuring equal treatment for all players. With 32 teams participating, the tournament promises to be the biggest and best in the competition’s history, serving as a fitting tribute to Secretary General Fatma Samoura as she concludes her tenure in December.
Fatma Samoura’s departure from FIFA marks the end of an era that saw remarkable progress in the organisation’s governance and the advancement of women’s football. Her legacy will undoubtedly inspire future leaders to continue working towards inclusivity, transparency, and excellence within the beautiful game.