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tv   The Most Powerful Woman in Sport  BBC News  May 28, 2018 12:30pm-1:01pm BST

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flooding as we brought catastrophic flooding as we heard. through the rest of this afternoon. low cloud and mist burns back and another fine and warm and sunny day and humid across sunny areas and we could see showers and thunderstorms. a bit hit and miss with sums gained right altogether. 20 celsius across the south west and north east of scotland but low cloud and mist rolls back in across many areas and we could see and read down pours. we start tuesday on a grey note with cloud breaking and burning back to the coast. lots of sunshine in northern and western areas but gci’oss in northern and western areas but across many in central and southern areas, and storms breaking out which could be heavy and another one day. temperatures in the 20 celsius. the rest of the week stays warm and humid, some sunshine around and also a risk of thundery downpours which will continue. this is bbc news. our latest headlines: a man in his 80s has died after his vehicle
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was submerged in walsall, as flash flooding hit parts of the midlands and wales. some areas get more than a month's rainfall injust an hour. a young malian immigrant who rescued a boy hanging from a balcony will become a french citizen. he was given a medal of courage after he scaled the building with his bare hands. the labour partyjoins calls to change abortion laws in northern ireland, following a referendum in the republic of ireland. now on bbc news, sally nugent meets the most powerful woman in sport. football has long been regarded as a boys‘ club, but the sport has a new first lady. fatma samoura is the first ever female secretary general of fifa and is ranked the most powerful woman in international sport. as part of the bbc‘s 100 women, we have been given exclusive access to her here at fifa's
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headquarters in zurich. in her role, the second most powerful in fifa, fatma samoura has overseen reform at world football's governing body. her appointment was historic. with 21 years as a senior manager at the un, samoura and herfamily have travelled all over the world. the senegalese national, who speaks four languages, is not only the first woman but also the first non—european on fifa's executive. particularly impressive for a woman with no professional background in sport. so what's it like to be a woman at the very top of this male—dominated industry? so, as the first woman in this very senior position, first non—european in this very senior position, first muslim
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working at this level in fifa, do you feel like you are a trailblazer? definitely, i can say that... we say the "glass ceiling"? yes. ..has been broken. ijoined a definitely male—dominated organisation, first woman after 112 years. but ijust hope that people recover from the surprise of my announcement in may 2016 in mexico. it's been two years. yes, already. so they should be used to it by now. now they're used to me. and she will bring a fresh wind to fifa. somebody from outside, not somebody from inside. not somebody from the past. samoura's historic appointment did come as a surprise to some. the senegalese had a background in humanitarian work, not sport, and there were some doubts about whether she had the experience to handle the job. my suggestions are not different from women in leadership positions.
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nobody asks a man when he takes a position whether he is 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. you have to work twice as much as men, you have to make no mistake. people will scrutinise your private life, try to find any dirty business about you, but morally you have to be strong. if you believe in your capacity, you can overcome all these kind of challenges. do you think that's something that women sometimes struggle to do? to believe in their own capacity to take on jobs like this? and this is always my message to young women, especially to my african sisters. you need to believe in yourself. when you went to the same school as a man, there is no reason why
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you think he can do as well, or sometimes better. and, in my long years of experience with the un, what i have as a conviction is when it comes to managing money, people should be looking at women. yes, they are more faithful, they are more loyal, they are more transparent and more accountable. i run hundreds of projects around the world. the only one where i had no money embezzlement were those that were managed by women. when samoura took on her role, fifa was reeling from the corruption scandal that took out most of its top leadership, including president sepp blatter. samoura herself replaced secretary generaljerome valcke, who was found guilty of misconduct and banned from football—related activity for 12 years.
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my first priority was to make sure that the ongoing investigation didn't impact negatively the delivery and the morale of the staff. so i started by meeting the 200 and more staff within the home of fifa to tell them that they are our best ally. they went through tremendous suffering because of what had happened, and for the first time i could see people, who had worked more than 20 years with fifa, crying. they were telling me, "madam, this fifa uniform, we cannot wear them any more in the public transportation. because people abuse us whenever they see us. they think that we are all corrupt." so, my priority was clear, to restore the morale of the troops, as we say. we are dealing with human beings, and we need to prioritise their needs.
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and their needs were very simple. we love football, we want to talk about football, we don't want to talk about scandal, and we don't want the rest of the world to think that we are all crooks. the first decision i took after having met more than 70% of the staff was first to bring on board two ombudsmen. people whom they trust enough to talk to and to express all their grievances, including against the senior management. that's one of the things i expect happened. i imagine you ruffled some feathers, coming in at a time of crisis, perhaps there's more that you could uncover than fifa wants to hear about. definitely. what happened ? the human aspect was definitely something that was neglected. i wanted people to know that i'm
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a human being, i'm not the boss. i'm the person who is supposed to be leading them through a very difficult transition. in her role as secretary general, samoura runs fifa's finances, the organisation of the world cup, and has overseen the reform of football's governing body. one of her firstjobs was to improve conditions for migrant workers constructing facilities for qatar's 2022 world cup. some human rights organisations argue that new labour laws haven't changed enough, or barely at all in qatar. but samoura believes the world cup has to engage with authoritarian states to trigger change. if you're bringing the world cup, everybody would like to host the world cup. you've got all the cards in your hands. today, because of the world cup, the labour law has changed in qatar. countries in the gulf are coming to get the same experience.
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and, as i said, my ambitions will be to have those 1.2 million workers who are not directly related to the fifa world cup benefit the same conditions as the rest. over the past six months, we haven't heard anything negative about the workers' conditions in qatar. at least not from those who are today building the stadium, the roads and the hotels. which is, for me, a strong sign that, yes, football can help change culture and behaviour, even in the more conservative societies. last month, samoura was herself reported to the fifa ethics committee over an alleged conflict of interest. she was accused of not declaring a family link relating to the 2026 world cup bid. while she was swiftly cleared, samoura says it is a clear sign that she doesn't have unanimous support within the organisation. it was definitely one of the most,
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let's say, laughable things i have seen in my life. just because somebody is called diouf and is ambassador for one of the bidders for the fifa world cup, they think we could be related, and it's really unfortunate. where did it come from? do you think maybe somewhere here there is someone that doesn't like what you're doing? of course. not only one person, there are many people who want first my position, and there are people who don't think that a black woman should be leading the administration of fifa. it's as simple as that. what do you say to them? i say you have no place here. if you are racist, something we are fighting on a daily basis on the pitch, i don't want any racist person around me. do you think there are...?
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211 members of the association is bigger than the member states of the un. so someone, somewhere... if the biggest sport that everybody knows is the biggest unifier in the world, you work for it and you are uncomfortable having a boss who comes from a different ethnic background, then i have a problem with you, yes. it's only one floor down. so we go to minus three. 0k. this is the new fifa, a bit more colour. there was no colour, was there? nothing. all these black walls. so what's this, then? did you bring this in? no. this was in the basement, somewhere hidden. just in storage? just in storage. so we try to put more pictures related to football, yes. this is also something that was sleeping downstairs. how do you stay resilient, then, in the face of those challenges? when someone challenges you in that
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way, and it happens to women all over the world in big organisations and small, perhaps someone doesn't think they should be in that role, perhaps they are trying to undermine them, how do you stay strong? what can women learn from your...? i always dialogue. sometimes my husband tells me, "why do you have to explain to people what they don't want to know?" "they aren't interested in knowing why an african woman should be in this position." i say, you're wrong. maybe people don't know my background. yes, i went to the same school as them, i have to tell them. i speak many languages. i've travelled worldwide, and i've seen people from all kinds of ethnicities who come with a biased opinion. through dialogue, you can convince them. but the most important thing is that you have also to be a role model. if they look at you and they see
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that you are strong on your feet, and you believe very much in your mission, and that you're showing people this is the way to go, and you have to expect to be very unpopular. some people don't like it when you tell them no. i'm alone in this ship coming from the outside world. so i can afford to take very tough difficulties, because i came without friends. before the reform, there were only 2a members and the president. so this room has been enlarged last year, and in october we had for the first time the meeting with the new format of the fifa council, 36 people. it's an incredible room.
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the president's explanation for this pitch is, ok, we discuss big decisions. if there is a difference of view, you settle it on the pitch. the one who scores more got his motion approved! laughter. and i bet you've scored more than most! laughter. sitting here for the first time in this famous room, what was that like? when you sat down and looked around. the first time i visited this room was when i arrived. gianni called a meeting with all the members of the management, about 20 people, to introduce me as the new secretary general. beside excitement, i was just thinking, "wow, this is the biggest chandelier i've ever seen in my life!" what's interesting is you haven't used the word intimidated or nervous.
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i'm never intimidated! if i don't fear warlords, why should i fear normal people? from afghanistan to nigeria, samoura has spent her career working in war zones. but in 21 years at the un, it was working in madagascar that was her biggest challenge. since i was leading the election, they gave me a surname which was vice—governor of the country, which was not very flattering. i didn't want any distraction. this is the prime minister of the transition government. this is me telling him, "you know? i always get what i want." she laughs. i was sometimes very harsh on them, but at the end of the day the un were able to organise one of the most fair, credible, inclusive elections. and after that, they did recognise why i was so hard on them sometimes, and they were always very thankful. so today, my best friends are from madagascar.
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when you were working at the un, you sound very much like a lot of the time you were on the ground and you were negotiating with people face—to—face. did you ever feel during that time that you were putting your own life at risk? every single day i was putting my life in danger, and in madagascar i even put my daughter's life in danger. i received threats because the un was in charge of organising the elections. my daughter was threatened. i had 18 heavily armed guards in my house for a year and a half, but i had to deal with it. in eastern chad, as a un humanitarian coordinator, we lost almost 300 cars, hijacked. i was taken out of my car three times at gunpoint. they removed all my communication equipment, my radio, my phone.
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but they left me alive. in the face of this danger, she says it is herfamily who had inspired her to believe in herself and break the stereotypes of a muslim girl growing up in senegal. my father was the first person who told me when i was eight years old, "if you want to survive in this family, you need to show that you are a capable young girl, and that you will not let any of your brothers step on your toes." and my mum never considered me as a young muslim girl who should be staying in the house. wow. i think this is something spectacular. so when you feel stressed, you can come here. i put some carpet. there is a direction of the kaaba, which is the east for muslims.
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muslims can come, buddhists can come, christians can come, anybody can come. i'll take my shoes off, anyway. if you're muslim, you have to remove your shoes, of course. i might cry. it's absolutely beautiful. it's an amazing place. and no echo. it's beautiful. not much echo. this is white marble from afghanistan. for the muslim, it is important also to demonstrate that being female, you can lead a male—dominated organisation administration, and still practise your faith. itjust gives me that you can still believe and practise your faith, being different from different ethnicity, but still feel the same love and the same passion about football, and still be able also to lead an administration of 600 people coming
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from 53 different countries. and introducing diversity is one of samoura's key priorities. today, fifa is a much more diverse institution than it used to be, at all levels of the institution. we have more than 46% women now working within fifa, against 32 when i joined two years ago. so significantly different. significantly. we have 52 different nationalities. it's a small un. i will always drive to deserve the trust that people put in me when i got thejob. every single day i got a letterfrom people saying, "we believe in you, you can do it, we've seen what you're doing." so all the support gives me a good reason not to disappoint anybody. and to ensure that the day i leave, fifa would be regarded as the leader
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not only in diversity but also in injecting a sense of pride to all the young girls who, like my daughter, want to make a career with football. samoura's appointment was the start of more changes to fifa's leadership. we sat down withjoyce cook, who leads the international football associations, and sarai bareman who heads up women's football, two new additions to their senior management. the strong woman of fifa! working with fatma as your general secretary, do you feel braver here? do you feel more able to say stuff that might be difficult for everyone to hear? absolutely.
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knowing she's here, sitting in the office above, it gives me a lot of strength. i see her as a great mentor. she's a great role model for all the women in fifa. i think most importantly, when we arrived we already had as general secretary a woman and a black woman. it's important we recognise we are diverse women. i am proud to be a disabled woman in this position. everything we do, every decision we take, we naturally bring that diversity to the table. sarai, your role is very much to promote women's football, to grow the game, to grow it from grassroots level. but you have been set quite a challenge, haven't you? yes. how tough will it be to reach your targets of women playing the game? it is a challenge, absolutely. we want to double the number of female players to 60 million by 26. but i think it is very achievable.
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i think it's about time. it's something we need to focus on. i grew up playing football, i love the game, and it hurts me to know there are girls out there around the world who don't have the same opportunity to play that i had. we can do it through competitions, creating more leagues for youth and for women at national level. we also do it through educating more coaches, making sure there are more leaders available to lead the women's game. we do it through capacity building with the leadership programmes. if there is one vision where we have huge potential for growth, it's the woman's game. the men, we have seen it all. they have big money. for the women, we still need to sell it as a very specific product, and we don't want to make any mistakes. people always come back to the money, they always come back to funding. it's the root of everything. how are you going to get the men's and women's money to match? today, the new strategy we have
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is to try to have women welcome also as a product that we can commercialise separately. and if we observe an increase in the trends we have already seen in 2015 during the final of the women's world cup in canada, this is definitely something that will be interesting for the sponsors. the most money we have, the better and higher pay we can get. this is something we will continue to build on. but definitely, the pay rise including the prize money is something that is very high on the president's agenda, and i'm sure that for next year we have nice surprises when we arrive in france. this is also something i'm fighting for. you said earlier you didn't want to talk about having power, you wanted to talk about having influence. but you do realise what
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you have here is power. definitely football is a powerful tool to shape society, and i want to use this power in a positive way to inspire people, and not to do harm to people. that's my conviction. but to make football progress, especially women's football, power is less necessary than influence. i prefer to influence, because when people are influenced and convinced about the rationale and the benefit of one thing, they are more ready to accept it than when you push them to do it. once you go, your power has gone, and nobody sees the reason for executing what you have pushed on them. but if you tell them it's the right thing and show them it is, then your influence survives after you, yes. hello there.
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plenty to talk about this weekend. yesterday scotland, northern ireland and wales saw the warmest day of the year so far and of course there have been thunderstorms bringing flash flooding to parts of the midlands and some spectacular lightning displays. bank holiday monday is looking fairly similar. there will be warm spells of sunshine but further thundery downpours are possible for parts of east anglia, southern england and wales. it will be warm. we are staying in that warm air. as you can see, the yellow and orange colouring firmly across the uk as we move through today and tomorrow. there was a bit of mist and fog and low cloud around to begin with. that's cleared back to eastern coastal areas and as we move through the afternoon, looking at plenty of good spells of warm sunshine. there is the chance of seeing a heavy, thundery shower in the south but they will be fairly hit and miss.
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where you do catch one, they could cause some disruption. temperatures today very warm in the south—east. we are looking at highs of 27, perhaps 28 celsius. a touch cooler on the east coast. as we move through the evening and overnight, the showers tend to die out. perhaps showery outbreaks of rain in the south—east. that could be heavy at times. we will see cloud rolling in from the east and mist and fog forming again. temperatures staying in double figures so a humid night for many. as we start the day tomorrow, mild with some low cloud, mist and fog. that mist and fog should burn back again to eastern coastal areas and we will see some good spells of sunshine developing in northern ireland, scotland, parts of wales and southern england. there is again the chance of seeing a heavy, thundery shower in the south. temperatures a touch cooler than today but still warm. a maximum of 2a celsius. that takes us into wednesday and again we will see further thundery downpours. they are likely to be mostly in the south—east. there will be sunny spells as well and again it is going to be warm. temperatures staying in the 20s for many of us
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and in the high teens. a maximum of around 22 perhaps 23 celsius. that warm air is staying with us as we move into thursday. again you can see that yellow and orange firmly spread across the uk. so as we move into thursday, further thundery showers in the forecast but this time they could be across the north and west. again it's going to be a warm or very warm day and there will be spells of sunshine. temperatures on thursday at a maximum of around 25 celsius. a man is killed after flash flooding in the west midlands. parts of birmingham had more than a month's rainfall in just one hour yesterday. today a clear—up operation is under way — weather warnings are in place in several parts of england. also this lunchtime. an immigrant from mali who scaled a block of flats in paris to save a toddler's life is given french citizenship. a pledge to eliminate the gender pay gap in the nhs. and the finest commute in britain —
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but for how much longer?
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