Credit: Nando65, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Fatma Samoura

FIFA Secretary-General,


Dare to shine

Who is she and what does she do?

Fatma Samoura is a Senegalese former diplomat and senior executive. She was appointed as the first female Secretary General of FIFA 2016. 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, and the BBC listed her as one of their 100 women.

Prior to joining FIFA, she spent 21 years working on high-level United Nations (UN) programmes in Italy, the Republic of Djibouti, Cameroon, Chad, Guinea, Niger, Madagascar and Nigeria. Fatma is well known for her commitment to furthering humanitarian causes and it was this commitment and tenacity that led to her being chosen as FIFA’s Secretary General.

Her personal experience with discrimination and exclusion

Fatma Samoura sensed rejection and racism following her appointment, something she does not hide: “Yes, I have experienced discrimination both for being a woman and for being a black woman. I encountered this in particular when I initially took up the role of Secretary General at FIFA, which as I mentioned previously was the first time a non-European and a woman had ever held this role.

How she got rid of it

“My appointment, before the global conversation began to focus on chauvinism and sexism, created quite a few waves in the world of football. It was the first time that not just a non-European, but a woman, had been appointed to the role in the history of FIFA and it showed that FIFA President Gianni Infantino was making a clear stand against the old fashioned and outdated thinking of the past. In nominating an African woman for this position, a strong but not isolated signal was being given to the world of football that the time for change was here,” Samoura points out.

Since taking up her position as Secretary General at football’s world governing body, the number of women employed by FIFA has increased across the board, including in senior management roles.

Her inspiration for you

„Actions speak louder than words. I am very aware of the unique position I hold, as a role model and a trailblazer for many women, in particular women of colour. I use my social media presence as a tool to reach out to young women, encourage, and empower them to be the best that they can be, to chase their dreams and to achieve their goals. My advice to young women is simple: don’t fear discrimination, get out there, be your best and Dare to Shine™.”


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