Date: Sunday, 11 March 2018
Fatma Samoura is a senior United Nations official who took office in 1995. She had worked in different posts responding to several emergencies in different parts of Africa and other parts of the world. When she was appointed in February 2016 as the Secretary General of FIFA, she became the first woman to ever walk in FIFA’s leadership.
Greetings to all Eritreans. My name is Fatma Samoura. I am from Senegal, Africa, and I am the FIFA Secretary General.
Senegal is just great. Home is always home. The country is doing great in football. Especially the men football team. People love football over there. The national men football team was actually one of the five African teams that qualified for the world Cup in Russia. Therefore, the whole country and its population are always in great zeal supporting the Eranga Lions at all times. It is a great atmosphere as you enjoy the sense of being together brought by football.
The president of FIFA, Mr. Infantino, had very clear vision for his presidency. His mandate since day one of his term, in February 2016, has been to make football a gender- sensitive sport as well as a sport that promotes diversity as a source of friendship and vigor. His decision was to reflect his plans through several actions without taking much time, one of which was appointing the very first female African Secretary General in the history of FIFA to lead the administration of the world football governing body.
Very excited. There is a lot of expectation from my side of the world. With me being appointed as the Secretary General, the hope of many Africans now is for FIFA to focus on the development of football in the continent.
In Senegal, football is growing slowly. But it’s registering encouraging outcomes now. It is also one of the few countries where the female team got good standards and recognition.
I sympathize with women’s struggle to come out and show the world that they, too, can contribute in making a difference. My piece of mind to those who are striving for greatness is to believe in themselves and look ahead no matter what obstacles they might face. There is nothing impossible in the world. Everything and anything can be attained so long as there is the will and readiness to fight until the end. I know women can do wonders so long as they are set to overcome social, cultural and religious impediments.
What I can say for sure is that the football industry has not been really a diverse industry in terms of gender and nationalities. But my example is not the only example of a better phase for FIFA. We have been promoting diversity amongst the committees. Before my time, there were less than five percent of women representatives in the committee. Now, they are close to twenty percent. The same progress is being registered at recruitment level. In FIFA, we currently have forty-five women occupying executive and senior executive posts. Definitely, the ambition is to have up to fifty percent of women represented at the highest football hierarchy by 2026. And furthermore it is exciting as the vision is not to be applied only in FIFA but also in our two hundred eleven member associations and six confederations.
It is, indeed, and strategically very important because the plan is to make FIFA a cohesive and well-rounded organization.
I did, of course. It is so nice to be here. I enjoy my trip every time I come. I am actually revisiting. I was WFP representative in Djibouti from 2000 until 2005 and back then I was lucky to come to Eritrea and visit the staff here in the National Association of Eritrean Football to train them on humanitarian assistance. I have real beautiful memories that I made here in Eritrea. Actually, last night, when we first landed here in Asmara, the very first thought that came to my head was to go to the center of the city as soon as possible and get a taste of the exquisite cappuccino typical of Asmara.
I’d like to thank the people of Eritrea for their hospitality. I wish for the Eritrean people to keep and nurture further their beautiful culture and history of sports. I want to encourage all of the young boys and, especially, girls to believe in themselves and the power of football.