Fatma Samoura: Fifa secretary-general says UN work prepared her for role

Fatma Samoura
Fatma Samoura (left) with Friedrich Curtius and Reinhard Grindel of the German FA at Euro 2016

Fifa secretary-general Fatma Samoura says the years she spent working in war zones for the United Nations have prepared her for her new job.

The Senegalese, 54, started her role at football's governing body last month.

She told BBC World Service: "I've covered almost all the emergency situations in the world, including Afghanistan, Liberia, Sierra Leone, East Timor, Kosovo and Nigeria.

"I think my last 20 years have prepared me for this complex situation."

Samoura is the first woman to hold the position of secretary-general at Fifa.

She has replaced Jerome Valcke following the Frenchman's 12-year ban from all football-related activities after he was found guilty of misconduct.

Former Fifa president Sepp Blatter was suspended from all football activities for eight years in December following an ethics investigation.

Gianni Infantino was elected as Blatter's replacement in February this year and has promised to "work tirelessly to bring football back to Fifa and Fifa back to football".

Samoura said: "I'm aware of the challenges that I will be facing in this very moment within Fifa and we have already started this administration under of the leadership of the president of Fifa and put in place massive reforms."

Referencing her lack of footballing background, she added: "My background equips me to inject more diversity to make Fifa a more sustainable institution.

"I'm married to a former football player for 28 years who's also being a good advisor to me on a daily basis - but more importantly I have many, many friends among football players.

"[Cameroon legend] Roger Milla, who I met a few years back in Cameroon, we are in regular touch - and we have many other football players, especially the legends, who are in daily contact with me.

"More importantly, I have a deputy secretary-general - midfielder Zvonimir Boban - who played in the great days of AC Milan."

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