Senegal’s Fatma Samoura will step down from her role as FIFA Secretary General at the end of the year, world soccer’s governing body said on Wednesday.
She is the first female and non-European Secretary General of FIFA and number 11 to occupy the seat since Louis Muhlinghaus in 1904.
The Senegal-born Samoura is the first African on the seat. She was a United Nations veteran, before she was tasked with the day-to-day running of FIFA since 2016 set out to fix the battered reputation of the organisation after being embroiled in corruption scandals.
Her predecessor Jerome Valcke was fired in 2016 and banned for ethics violations.
“FIFA today is a better governed, more open, more reliable and more transparent organisation. I will leave FIFA with a high sense of pride and fulfilment,” Samoura said in a statement.
“I had intended to share my news first with the FIFA Council members next week, but I am aware there has been growing speculation about my position in recent months.
“For now, I am fully focused on the preparation and delivery of the upcoming Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.”
Samoura, who began her U.N. career with the World Food Programme in 1995 and served as country representative or director in six African countries, including Nigeria. She was heavily involved in improving women’s football.
“Fatma was the first woman, and the first African, to be appointed to such an important position at FIFA,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said.
“We respect Fatma’s decision and I would like to thank her for such dedication and commitment to football.”
Samoura oversaw the restructuring of FIFA which included appointing two deputy secretary generals and creating a new women’s football division.