Student on the MA Sports Journalism at St Mary’s University, Twickenham Yara El-Shaboury has won the prestigious Vikki Orvice Award at the Football Writers Association’s annual Football Writer Awards.
Yara won the award for her investigative article on the impact of the takeover of Newcastle United Football Club on Yemeni Football, which explores how con men are exploiting young footballers who dream of competing in the European leagues. She was one of over 700 writers to enter the awards, and was shortlisted for the award with nine other student journalists. Alongside the trophy, Yara has won a £500 cash prize and a work placement in Brighton Football Club’s Communications Department.
Sports Journalist Ian Ridley, Vikki Orvice’s Widower, said on Twitter “Congratulations to all three [award winners] but especially Yara El-Shaboury, who wrote a brilliant piece on the exploitation of young Yemeni footballers, on winning the Vikki Orvice prize. Vikki would have been most impressed.”
Yara was joined in the shortlists by fellow St Mary’s student Mary Akinsola. Mary was shortlisted for the Unheard Voices Award for her article Race, Outrage, and the complexities of Cat Kicking, which looks at the wider implications of the response to the footage of Premier League footballer Kurt Zouma abusing his family cat.
Jim White of the FWA’s National Executive Committee said of Yara, “Her superb investigation into predatory con men preying on young Yemeni footballers keen on making their way in Europe by pretending to be agents was a tough read, but magnificently put together.”
Speaking of the Award, Sports Journalism Programme Lead Dr Daragh Mingoue said “Everyone on the programme is delighted for Yara, her article was thought provoking and shone a light on a really important issue.
“This is also a really special moment for us, as Vikki Orvice was a huge supporter of the women on our course. She started at The Sun as a football writer in 1995, one of the few women to write about sport in a national newspaper at the time and was heavily involved in establishing the Women in Football organisation, as well as serving as the vice-chair of the Football Writers’ Association. She was a mentor for many of our former female graduates.”