Football: New Zealand's FIFA heavy hitter has family UFC connection

She's been listed as one of the most influential sporting administrators of 2019, holding one of the most powerful positions at the biggest sporting organisation in the world.

Kiwi Sarai Bareman is the chief women's football officer at FIFA, overseeing the development and growth of the women's game around the globe.

While Bareman's in New Zealand for work - touring the 24 countries participating in this year's FIFA's Women's World Cup, it was a chance to catch up with other high achievers in her family.

Based in Zurich, Switzerland, Bareman rarely gets a chance to come back to where she grew up. The last time she walked into Auckland's City Kickboxing gym, she was coming to work out. This time, she was coming to catch up with her brother, Eugene.

You may have heard of the name before. Eugene Bareman not only owns the gym but trains some of the best UFC fighters in the country, including Israel Adesanya who's set to fight for the interim UFC world title next week.

It means Sarai's not the only Bareman achieving big things on the world stage.

"I'm super proud of what my brothers achieved and what this gym has achieved," Bareman told Newshub.

Football: New Zealand's FIFA heavy hitter has family UFC connection

Her brother shares similar sentiments and is reminded of it when he's overseas.

"To be in a foreign country and have someone come up to you and go your sister is a bit of a big deal," Eugene told Newshub

"She could have only got there to through a bit of hard work."

Sarai used to watch brother Eugene fight when they were younger and was the beginning of her passion with the sport.

She admitted to 'fan-girling' over Conor McGregor when he walked in the room at the FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Maybe a coincidence, but it has some relevance considering Sarai fights for the female game across the globe.

With 211 participating nations it's no easy task. But after two and a bit years in the job, Bareman's starting to make her mark, launching the first ever global strategy for women's football

"It took a year of real blood sweat and tears research and getting to know the landscape globally," Sarai said.

But with all the good, Bareman accepts there's still plenty to do, bringing the female game out of the men's shadow the main focus.

"The challenge for me is navigating that movement for women to be on an equal footing with men but at the same time understanding the landscape."

It's a busy job that means a lot of time on the road, which is similar to her brother who is about to fly to Atlanta with Adesanya.

But it's not exactly the same.

"She's flying business and first class and I'm flying economy," Eugene quipped.

"I suppose it's one of the perks of being a high roller as one of world football's most powerful figures."