Friday 06 October 2023, 21:00

Fatma Samoura lauds FIFA Women’s World Cup™ success at IWF Leadership Conference

  • Outgoing FIFA Secretary General talked about the success and legacy of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™

  • Football’s role in bringing social justice and diversity was also discussed

  • International Women’s Forum World Leadership Conference took place in Detroit, USA

Fatma Samoura discussed the success and legacy of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ during a question-and-answer session at the International Women’s Forum (IWF) World Leadership Conference 2023.

The FIFA Women's World Cup 2023™ saw a record 32 teams competing, almost two million fans in attendance, and an estimated two billion watching on TV around the world. On the pitch in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, Ms. Samoura said, the established boundaries of women’s football had also been redrawn.

"Who would have thought that Colombia and Morocco would finish above Germany, that Jamaica would reach the knockout stages at the expense of Brazil or that three African teams could progress to the last sixteen?” she explained to moderator Joanne Salazar, Co-Owner & Director, QED Consulting Ltd. “Yet all of those things happened.”

The outgoing Secretary General highlighted FIFA’s initiative to increase the prize money for the tournament by tenfold since 2015 with the goal to have equal pay between the men's FIFA World Cup 2026™ and the FIFA Women's World Cup 2027™. She added the decision to ringfence prize money to ensure every single player received a guaranteed minimum of USD 30,000 would have a significant impact.

"Considering the average wage of a female professional player around the world is USD 14,000 annually, these were life-changing sums," she said at the event in Detroit, USA. Ms. Samoura said the tournament also provided a unique opportunity for FIFA to engage at grassroots level, which is particularly relevant for growing women’s football in First Nations and Māori communities.

"My trip to Darwin was part of that,” she said referring to her pre-tournament visit to Australia’s remote Northern Territory. “It was an enriching experience learning about the Aboriginal and Indigenous culture, and to show that at FIFA, we care, we want them to be part of the global football community.” She added: "Football can indeed empower young people, particularly those from remote communities, so they can find their own voice, but more importantly, their own space.”

Ms. Samoura noted that women at FIFA had been able to do that during her seven years in office, with seven female members on the FIFA Council including one FIFA Vice-President. Women are also represented across FIFA’s standing committees, and at the management board within FIFA’s administration, while some 40 percent of full-time employees are female. Following the conference, Ms. Samoura attended a gala dinner where she was honoured by IWF President, Carolyn Carter, with the organisation acknowledging the FIFA Secretary General’s leadership and achievements.

Outgoing FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura during the 2023 IWF World Leadership Conference & Gala