As female athletes make headlines on the field, female executives are continuing to make their make off the field.
Ann Odong

FIFA, Zela
16 May 2016 - 11:40 AM  UPDATED 16 May 2016 - 11:45 AM

1. Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura

Over the weekend, Senegal's Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura was appointed as FIFA's first female secretary general.

The 54 year-old, who brings to the role 21 years of work with the United Nations, will commence in June.

"She has a proven ability to build and lead teams, and improve the way organisations perform," said Fifa president Gianni Infantino.

"Importantly for Fifa, she also understands that transparency and accountability are at the heart of any well-run and responsible organisation."

Samoura now holds one of the most powerful positions in world sport but she is not the only woman in sport in an influential position in Australia or globally.  

2. Billie Jean King

A global legend, King was one of the first vocal proponents of gender equality in sport and one of the founders of the Women's Tennis Association, World Team Tennis and Women's Sports Foundation. King now lends her influence to gaining gender equality inside and outside of sport.  

3. Michele Roberts

As Executive Director of the NBA Players' Association, Roberts is the first female to lead a major professional sports union.  

A former public defender and corporate lawyer, Roberts is both feared and respected for her tough talk and strong negotiation skills.  

4. Moya Dodd

A Football Federation Australia Board member, Asian Football Confederation Vice President and FIFA Executive Committee member, Dodd has been at the forefront for the inclusion of women in football.  Her work in the past 12 months has seen the increase of women in the FIFA Executive Committee as well as the inclusion of women in the FIFA statutes for the first time.  

5. Lesa France Kennedy

The CEO of International Speedway Corporation and vice chairperson of NASCAR has more than 30 years of experience in racing. With billions of dollars under her control, France Kennedy is regularly considered the most powerful woman in sport.

6. Kate Palmer

Palmer is the CEO of the second largest participation sport for girls and one of the most successful women's sports leagues in Australia.  Under her leadership, netball continues to grow both at grassroots level and at the professional level with big crowds and strong broadcast coverage of the popular ANZ Championships.  

7 indisputable facts that prove netball is the greatest sport ever
More than 1.2 million Australians play netball, with local clubs and dominating elite teams making it a go-to for women in sport. But what makes it so great? Here are 7 awesome reasons (and they only just scratch the surface)!
Could Netball be in danger from the rise of Aussie Rules?
The AFL wants to poach the best female athletes in the country for its much-hyped women’s league, to begin next February, but the sport with potentially the most to lose, netball – Australia’s number one female participation sport – isn’t intimidated.

7. Emma Highwood

The FFA Head of Women's Football has the task of leading the most popular sport for girls and looking after one of the most popular national teams, the Matildas.    

8. Raelene Castle

Castle is one of the few female CEO in the top 4 football codes.  A strong and tenacious head of the Canterbury Bulldogs, Castle has helped the Bulldogs to become one of the best commercially successful NRL clubs and was considered as a possible replacement as the NRL CEO.  

9. Simone Wilkie

Appointed the chair of the AFL Women's Football Advisory Group, Wilkie may have barely been in the position five minutes, but she could have a big impact in how Australia's biggest code expands to embrace women.  The AFL Women's Football Advisory Group will have a say over issues including broadcasting deals, rule modifications and new women's jumpers.

Bonus: Loretta Lynch

While not strictly involved in sports administration, Lynch is the Attorney General of the United States and with it hold some serious powers to impact sports in the USA and worldwide.  

So influential is her position, her tough and unflinching investigation of FIFA and its corruption saw arrests of several high ranking executives and led to the eventual downfall of Sepp Blatter in 2015. Slay indeed.