FIFA Friday appointed Senegalese UN executive Fatma Samoura secretary general while giving Kosovo and Gibraltar the go-ahead to play in World Cup qualifiers as football governing body's newest members.

Samoura is the first woman and the first African to be appointed for the number two position at FIFA. All previous secretary generals since FIFA was founded in 1904 have been Europeans.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who was elected in February, said at the organization's congress in Mexico City Friday that Samoura was someone from the outside who "will bring a fresh wind" to FIFA, which has been mired in corruption scandals.

"It is essential for FIFA to incorporate fresh perspectives – from outside the traditional pool of football executives – as we continue to restore and rebuild our organisation," Infantino said.

He described Samoura as "a woman with international experience and vision who has worked on some of the most challenging issues of our time."

He added: "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, 54, who has no previous links to football, has worked in various roles at the United Nations for some 21 years since beginning her UN career as a senior logistics officer with the World Food Programme in Rome in 1995.

She is currently the UN’s resident/humanitarian coordinator and UN Development Programme resident representative in Nigeria. She speaks French, English, Spanish and Italian.

“Today is a wonderful day for me, and I am honoured to take on the role of FIFA’s secretary general,” Samoura said in a FIFA statement.

Samoura will assume her new role before the middle of next month subject to an an eligibility check administered by FIFA's independent review committee.

FIFA's former secretary general, Jerome Valcke of France, was dismissed in January and the following month banned from football for 12 years. It followed an investigation into allegations of potential misconduct related to the sale of World Cup tickets and other cases of alleged misconduct.

Germany's Markus Kattner has been serving as interim secretary general since then.

Kosovo was meanwhile accepted as 210th member after 141 delegates approved membership and 23 voted against.

Serbia, from which Kosovo declared independence in 2008, has opposed Kosovo's membership, and its federation said it would appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Kosovo was on May 3 admitted as the 55th member of UEFA on a 28-24 vote.

Gibraltar then became FIFA's 211 member in a 117-12 vote. It has been a member of European football body since 2013. The vote came after the Gibraltar Football Association (GFA) had successfully gone to CAS to get FIFA to look favourably at its application.

Gibraltar had campaigned for several years to be recognized as a football country in its own right despite being a British Overseas Territory.

Both Kosovo and Gibraltar can now take part in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. With the group draw already made, it will now be up to UEFA to determine the procedures.

In other developments, FIFA members approved a revised financial plan to 2018. A budget of 1.178 billion dollars includes provision for a football development payment of 5 million dollars per association per four-year cycle as pledged by Infantino when running as a candidate for the presidency.

FIFA had a shortfall of 122 million dollars in 2015 largely as a result of legal fees relating to various corruption scandals.

The body hopes to have a profit of 100 million dollars at the end of the two-year cycle, including increased marketing and TV rights revenues, Kattner said.

Related stories

Infantino gets broad European backing for FIFA presidential bid

CAS dismisses Serbia's appeal

CAS to hear Serbia appeal over Kosovo in October

FIFA president Infantino welcomes probe over TV contract

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.