Fifa Secretary General Reported To Ethics Chiefs Over World Cup Bid

One of Fifa’s most senior executives, Fatma Samoura, has been reported to the organisation’s powerful ethics committee.

Samoura, who was appointed secretary general of football’s world governing body by its president Gianni Infantino in 2016, is accused of alleged breaches of its ethics code relating to “duty of disclosure, co-operation and reporting” and “conflicts of interest”.

The claims stem from allegations relating to Morocco’s bid to host the 2026 World Cup. The North African country wants to host the tournament but is up against a North American joint effort comprising Canada, the USA and Mexico.

Morocco logo

Members of a Fifa World Cup evaluation taskforce – which recently visited the bidding countries – are said to have discovered an undeclared family link between Samoura – whose full name is Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura – and the former Liverpool forward El Hadji Diouf, who is working in an ambassadorial role for the Moroccan bid.

Both Samoura, 55, and Diouf are from Senegal. They are both now the subject of an ethics complaint.

A senior Fifa source has told BBC Sport the allegation is “tenuous”, while Samoura said she is “fully aware of this upcoming complaint” and has “a good idea who is conveying this message”.

She added: “The whole country of Senegal will laugh at Fifa Ethics… because everyone in my country knows the origin of El Hadji Diouf.”

The same senior source, who wishes to remain anonymous, also alleges Infantino “encouraged” the evaluation taskforce to find evidence that could block Morocco’s candidacy.

It is claimed Infantino was motivated to do this as he favours the rival North American bid given the enormous financial advantage it has over its African rival.

Nigeria-Based Senegalese Appointed As New FIFA Secretary-General

Senegal’s Fatma Samoura has been appointed as FIFA’s Secretary-General, becoming the first female in that post and the first African in such position.

She succeeds former secretary-general Jerome Valcke, who was recently banned from football-related activity for 12 years.

The 54-year-old Samoura, whose full names are Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura, spent 21 years working for the United Nations and will assume duties at the world football governing body in June.

“It is essential that FIFA incorporates fresh perspectives as we continue to restore and rebuild our organisation,’’ FIFA President Gianni Infantino said of the appointment.

“She has a proven ability to build and lead teams, and improve the way organisations perform.

“Importantly for FIFA, she also understands that transparency and accountability are at the heart of any well-run and responsible organisation.’’

Samoura’s appointment, announced at FIFA’s congress in Mexico City, completes a new-look to an organisation which has been dogged by corruption allegations under Valcke and previous president Sepp Blatter.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Blatter, FIFA President since 1998, stood down last year and was later suspended from football for six years for breaching ethics guidelines.

After his appointment in February, Infantino had said he would “work tirelessly to bring football back to FIFA and FIFA back to football’’.

NAN reports that Samoura, who will undergo an eligibility check before her role is ratified, currently works for the UN in Nigeria, and speaks four languages.

She started her UN career as a senior logistics officer with the World Food Programme in Rome in 1995.

Samoura has since served as country representative or director in six African countries, including Nigeria.

“Today is a wonderful day for me, and I am honoured to take on this role,” she said.

“This role is a perfect fit for my skills and experience — strategic, high-impact team building in international settings — which I will use to help grow the game of football all over the world.

“I also look forward to bringing my experience in governance and compliance to bear on the important reform work that is already underway at FIFA.

“FIFA is taking a fresh approach to its work — and I am eager to play a role in making that approach as effective and lasting as possible.’’

World Bank Votes $800m For North-East Rebuilding

The World Bank has earmarked $800 million to support the rebuilding of the infrastructure destroyed in the North East by the Boko Haram insurgency.

The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Fatma Samoura, made the disclosure on Thursday in Maiduguri during a courtesy visit to Gov Kashim Shettima.

Samoura, who is also a UN Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative, said the UN was scaling up its presence in Borno and other North Eastern states ravaged by the insurgency.

“Yesterday, we had a long discussion with the World Bank team that came from Washington to attend the workshop.

“The workshop is for validating the year findings of the recovery and peace-building assessment.

“They have promised to leverage 800 million dollars for the North East to response to recovery, rehabilitation, de-mining, waste management and debris processing for the North East of Nigeria,’’ she said.

The UN representative regretted that the UN was having challenges in mobilising resources for Nigeria in view of the humanitarian crises in other parts of the world.

“As we all know, the Syrian crisis that is affecting Europe is also taking a heavy toll in terms of funding from our traditional donors.

“We are trying our best to ensure that our advocacy and our communication strategy are up to the level where we will be receiving more attention from the donor community.

“The humanitarian response plan, as we speak, is just 10 per cent funded, meaning we have only received 24 million dollars.

“This is out of 248 million dollars budgeted for the North East of Nigeria for 2016,” she said.

Samoura, however, pledged that the UN would continue to complement the World Bank and the EU supports to address the root causes of poverty and exclusion in the North East.

“The UN will be on your side in order to address the humanitarian situation.

“The UN will also support the Borno Government in its work on recovery and rehabilitation for the safe return of the IDPs back to their areas of origin,” she said.

Samoura said her visit to Maiduguri was to demonstrate the sympathy of the UN to the appalling situation of the 1.8 million people who have been displaced by insurgency.

She commended the strong leadership and commitment of the governor to finding sustainable solutions to safe and voluntary return of the IDPs to their places of origin.

Responding, Gov Shettima commended the UN for standing by the government and people of Borno in identifying the root causes and also finding lasting solutions to the insurgency.

Shettima, however, described that the $800 million pledge by the World Bank as grossly inadequate in view of the enormous challenges left behind by the insurgency.

“It is in the interest of humanity to rally round Nigeria over Boko Haram. The developed world gave Turkey two billion dollars to resettle refugees from Syria.

“There are about two million IDPs from Borno and 20 Local Government Areas were overran by Boko Haram and there is food crisis now in the state,” he said.

He, however, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his support to Borno and victims of insurgency.