New Fifa secretary general vows to improve game's 'tarnished image'

Fifa's new secretary general Fatma Samoura vowed to restore football's tarnished image.
Fifa's new secretary general Fatma Samoura vowed to restore football's tarnished image.PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - Fifa's new secretary general Fatma Samoura on Saturday (May 14) vowed "to help football restore its tarnished image" following a spate of scandals within the game's world governing body.

"My goal is to support the programme of president Gianni (Infantino) and to help football restore its tarnished image," the Senegalese UN diplomat, named on Friday (May 13) as Fifa's first ever female secretary general, told AFP.

"And to those who speak of my lack of experience, I say give me the time to prove myself," she added in a telephone interview from Abuja, Nigeria, where she is representing the United Nations Development Programme at a summit to discuss efforts to defeat Islamist militant group Boko Haram.

"Fifa is the United Nations of football and I bring 21 years of experience in the private sector and the UN in terms of good governance and transparency, and the obligation to make the different federations and Fifa accountable," added the 54-year-old.

"We must try to restore football to what it was, the most popular sport that breaches social divides.

"And one of the things I am going to try to do is bring greater support to women's football."

Ms Samoura, who was named as the successor to the disgraced Jerome Valcke at a Fifa congress in Mexico on Friday, will take her post by mid-June after undergoing an eligibility check administered by an independent review committee.