Secretary General Foreword
Executive forewords

Secretary General’s foreword

2022 saw a surge in opportunities through football for people across the world, with men’s teams in Qatar offering inspiration to billions and the best women’s teams preparing to go #BeyondGreatness in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand in 2023.

At the beginning of the year, there was much uncertainty despite the prospect of the pandemic coming to an end. Communities, societies and families had been separated by the impact of COVID-19, football was either suspended or played without fans and the existing health challenges were being compounded by problems in the global economy. By the end of the year, football had reaffirmed its unifying power, and together, we have created more opportunities for people to be touched by it, and to a greater extent than ever before.

It was my pleasure to be at Kinshasa’s Stade des Martyrs in February to witness the inaugural staging of the Africa Schools Champions Cup, organised by FIFA with support from CAF and the African Union. For many of the players, their journey was the first outside their own country, an occasion on which to learn and make new friends through the beautiful game. Our belief in football’s place at the heart of education is unwavering.

The Football for Schools projects launched throughout the year were testament to that belief and empowered a range of collaborators outside football to support the member associations in the realisation of these initiatives. Although the sport has an incredible ability to support social change on its own, when FIFA works with as many external collaborators as possible, we can achieve amazing things together.

For FIFA, good results are demonstrated by the number of people who can benefit from access to our sport, and in 2022 it was evident that women’s football is a top priority for all of us in this respect. Over the past four years, FIFA has invested heavily in women’s football, and while these funds are crucial, the female game is also being driven forward by stakeholders sharing knowledge about their projects. Today, 85% of our member associations have strategies in place to develop the women’s game and we will be unrelenting in our quest to get that number closer to 100%. The goal is to have 60 million girls and women around the world actively participating in football by 2026 and many of those will be spurred into action by what they witness in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand this year at what will be the biggest-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The success of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 was the product of much hard work from the FIFA team and our many trusted collaborators and the football was indeed a delight to behold.
Fatma Samoura
FIFA Secretary General

At the time of writing, we already know of five teams whose flags will fly at the tournament for the first time and we can therefore already speak of a significant legacy potentially being left by the tournament. Indeed, creating a lasting impact through all of our projects is imperative to the health of the global game, all the more so thanks to the range of reforms that have taken place over the past seven years under the leadership of FIFA President Gianni Infantino. I would like to thank him for his support on all of the various programmes and to congratulate him on earning the backing of an overwhelming cross section of the member associations for another term in office.

We can be satisfied with the progress made, but we must never rest on our laurels. The success of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 was the product of much hard work from the FIFA team and our many trusted collaborators and the football played was indeed a delight to behold, but various challenges lie ahead, such as preparing new competitions, advancing football development and paving the way for a FIFA World Cup in three countries in 2026, to name but a few. Whatever the challenge, our commitment to working efficiently and taking a truly global approach to the world’s most popular sport will be crucial and we appreciate everyone’s support in that endeavour.

Yours sincerely,

Fatma Samoura
FIFA Secretary General