Fatma Samoura

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Fatma Samoura
Marie-Sophie Reck
in 2008
FIFA Secretary-General
Assumed office
20 June 2016[1]
Preceded byMarkus Kattner (acting)
Personal details
Born (1962-09-09) 9 September 1962 (age 57)[2]

Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura (born 9 September 1962 in Senegal) 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[3] and assumed her post on 20 June 2016.[1] Previously she worked in various positions at the United Nations. In 2018 Forbes ranked her Number 1 in their Most Powerful Women in International Sports list[4] and the BBC listed her as one of their 100 women.[5]


After joining the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in 1995, she served as Country Director for WFP in Djibouti and Cameroon[6] 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,[7] and she was tasked with working for their return.[8] 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.[7]


In June 2016 she 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.[9]

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. 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. "Britain is not the only country that has been suffering as a result of war", she said. "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". [10][11]

Samoura found herself in controversy again during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup when she praised the Cameroon women's national football team immediately after their controversial behavior against the England women's national football team which was criticized by many including the President of Africa’s women's football committee. [12] [13]


  1. ^ a b "Testing times ahead at FIFA as Samoura makes an official start".
  2. ^ "Governance Report 2016" (PDF). FIFA.com. p. 47. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
  3. ^ "FIFA appoints first female general secretary to succeed Jerome Valcke".
  4. ^ Settimi, Christina. "No. 1: Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura - pg.2". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-03-29.
  5. ^ "BBC 100 Women 2018: Who is on the list?". BBC News. 2018-11-19. Retrieved 2018-11-21.
  6. ^ "WFP assures food aid to Cameroon".
  7. ^ a b "United Nations: New DHC deployed to eastern Chad".
  8. ^ "Ambitious plans to get 90,000 displaced to return home".
  9. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/14/sports/soccer/fifa-appoints-a-woman-fatma-samoura-as-secretary-general.html?_r=0
  10. ^ "Fifa poppy ban 'utterly outrageous' says Theresa May". The Daily Telegraph. 2016-11-02. Retrieved 2017-01-13.
  11. ^ Owen Gibson. "England and Scotland players to defy Fifa and wear poppies in Armistice Day match". The Guardian. Retrieved 2017-01-13.
  12. ^ "African football chief puts boot into Cameroon for England meltdown". The Sun. 2019-06-24. Retrieved 2019-06-25.
  13. ^ "Fifa under pressure to censure own No2 after congratulating Cameroon's behaviour against England". The Sun. 2019-06-24. Retrieved 2019-06-25.