May 26, 2018 / 1:34 AM / 3 months ago

FIFA's Samoura says encountered racism, sexism

LONDON (Reuters) - FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura said she encountered sexism and racism when she took over the job, with some in soccer opposed to a “black woman” taking a senior post at the global governing body.

FILE PHOTO - FIFA General Secretary Fatma Samoura (L), Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko (C) and CEO of the Local Organising Committee Alexey Sorokin attend the Team Seminar in Moscow, Russia, November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karphukhin

The 55-year-old Senegalese was the first woman to hold a senior role at FIFA when she took over from Jerome Valcke, who was sacked in January 2016 as part of the fall-out from the corruption scandal that rocked the organization.

Samoura said she had “broken the glass ceiling” in a “male-dominated organisation”, adding “they are used to me now”.

“There are people who don’t think that a black woman should be leading the administration of FIFA. It’s sometimes as simple as that,” Samoura told the BBC.

“It is something we are fighting on a daily basis on the pitch - I don’t want any racist person around me.

“Nobody asks a man when he takes a position if he’s competent to do the job. They just assume that he can do the job.

“For a woman to make her way up to the top - you need to prove every single day that you are the best fit for that position.”

Writing by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, editing by Greg Stutchbury

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