Week 135 (14 - 20 May 2016)
For more than 100 years, FIFA has been presided over by men but that all changed on Friday 13 May when Senegalese diplomat Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura was appointed to the position of Secretary General, signalling the dawn of a new era within football's world governing body.
Samoura's appointment to the second-most powerful position in football is a statement of intent by an International Federation that has experienced a turbulent year. Samoura, who has no previous experience in sport, will draw upon her time as a United Nations official to bring a much needed new and reformed dimension to the organisation – as FIFA President Gianni Infantino commented, she would bring a "fresh wind".
As well as the first woman to be appointed, it is also the first time FIFA has appointed a non-European to the position of Secretary General, as the International Federation broke away from tradition and embraced diversity. Samoura's historic appointment is all the more impressive when put into perspective statistically - less than one percent of all the voting members of FIFA are women, but now there is female representation at the highest level.
Following her appointment, Samoura said: "I believe this role is a perfect fit for my skills and experience – strategic, high impact team building in international settings – which I will use to help grow the game of football all over the world. 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. FIFA is taking a fresh approach to its work, and I am eager to play a role in making that approach as effective and lasting as possible."
Samoura is clearly confident in her own abilities and FIFA should have confidence in its new Secretary General, as the International Federation looks to restore stability and credibility.