ABUJA: New secretary-general Fatma Samoura has insisted that “this is a new FIFA” after all the years of scandal and corruption.
The former United Nations diplomat explained her background and qualifications for the role of turning around the world football federation in an interview with Osasu Obayiuwana for BBC World Service.
She said: “During my last years I was going from one storm to the next storm. I have covered almost all the emergency situations in the world – in Afghanistan, Liberia, Sierra Leone, East Timor, Kosovo and more recently Kosovo – so I think these 20 years’ experience have prepared me to do this complex situation.
“I’m fully aware of the magnitude of the challenges in this very moment in FIFA and we have already started with the new administration to undertake massive reforms.
“My message is saying now we have a president who is strongly committed to change and is here to implement a major programme of reform . . . [and] tell the billions of fans of football that this is a new FIFA.”
Samoura said that the first appointment of a woman to a crucial role in FIFA had engendered “a lot of excitement from fans across the six confederations.”
She added: “I think my background has equipped me to inject more diversity and make FIFA a more sustainable institution.”
Samoura said that, as a child, she was a fan of Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and could remember as far back as Brazil’s historic third World Cup triumph with Pele in Mexico in 1970.
But one of her “most fascinating moments” in football was when the national team of her country, Senegal, beat France in the Opening Match of the 2002 World Cup in South Korea.
She said: “I in Djibouti then and had invited all the local Senegalese teachers. When we scored I had the impression my house was falling apart.”