Young journalists get the chance to shine as Gazprom Football for Friendship gives them the opportunity to cover Euro 2020

Football may not have returned to England – but for a group of young journalists, Euro 2020 was a tournament they will never forget.

England’s hopes of winning their first major in 55 years were dashed by Italy in penalties, but 15 young journalists were able to make their dreams come true thanks to the Gazprom Football for Friendship program.

During the Euro, 144 lucky young journalists had the chance to cover the tournament in their home country for the Football for Friendship: Euro 2020 News Bureau and to report on the matches focusing on the nine values ​​of the program. Football for Friendship – which are friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace, dedication, victory, traditions and honor.

The work of the Young Journalists was supported by professional journalists from the main media in cities organizing the games. Young Journalists’ publications were featured in official Football for Friendship program accounts as well as local media throughout the tournament.

For 15 of the young journalists aged 12-14, they were based in the UK during the tournament and had the opportunity to watch and cover England as they advanced to the final.


Jackson Gilligan enjoyed England’s run to Euro 2020 final (Image credit: Sasha Macmillen)

For Jackson Gilligan, 12, from London, he enjoyed being able to keep a close eye on Gareth Southgate and write about them as they progressed through the tournament.

He said: “There have been a lot of very good games, but I would say England’s opener against Croatia really sticks in my memory. We were all very excited that the Euros were about to start because everyone had waited so long for the competition. The team played very well and we ended up winning 1-0 against a very strong team. I felt very privileged to be part of the F4F program because I knew that this opportunity was unique and that not everyone would have the same luck as me. I really enjoyed wearing the Football for Friendship Young Journalist Kit because it made me feel like a real sports journalist and it gave me the confidence to approach strangers to request interviews. Planning my coverage for the England v Scotland game actually made me more excited and made the experience even more memorable. Even though I was quite nervous at first I was really happy with what I had done and when I showed it to my family they said it was excellent and I had done very good work. I was proud to have been able to use my new skills and it made me very happy that my family liked what I had done.

Sasha Macmillen is 14 years old and has already lived in different countries in his life, he was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and when he was four his family moved from South America to Poland. And then in 2016, he and his family moved to the UK.

Sasha loved the experience of being a young journalist during the tournament and learned a lot during the tournament.

He said: “It was really nice to be able to watch a game and soak up the atmosphere, given the kind of 18 months we’ve had before. Like a deep breath of fresh air. Have my work posted online for a lot of people to see. I felt like a real professional. One of the things I learned was how to interact with other people in an interview even if you don’t know them. And how to create honest, engaging content. During the Football for Friendship educational block, we also learned to follow all universal values ​​- e.g. fairness, friendship, traditions etc. during our work. One of the best moments was interviewing a fan during the match between Italy and Austria with the chants of the Italian fans in the background. It was such a great atmosphere that day.


Esme Randall enjoyed seeing how the different teams put together ahead of the game (Image credit: Sasha Macmillen)

Esme Randall, 12 years old from Thames Ditton, loved being a part of Euros and F4F and learned so much about being a journalist from that experience.

She said: “The best part was that England made it to the final. Plus, I had watched the Women’s World Cup in 2019, and in the same way, I loved watching and learning the different styles of football practiced by each country. For example, Germany coach their team in every position, not just a specific position for each player. It was such an amazing experience! Thank you! I felt so included in everything that was happening and it was so much fun. I really enjoyed meeting other people from all over Europe during the F4F online courses. When we worked in mini groups I got to talk with people from different country and learn more about their life and school. I learned how to build a story, use social media and collect resources and information effectively and efficiently. Going to the England vs Germany game was amazing! I have never has attended an international match before. Journalism is definitely a job I would love to do. I didn’t know much about it before Football for Friendship, and especially after the call with the UEFA representative’s Master Class, I got really excited about it.


Darcey Slater enjoyed the Euro 2020 final the most due to the tension (Image credit: Sasha Macmillen)

Darcey Slater, a 13-year-old journalist from Surrey, also had a great time being part of the Gazprom Football for Friendship Euro 2020 information office.

She said: I really enjoyed watching the Euro, it gave me something to look forward to as the games approached and all my friends were all talking about it. I felt very special being part of the F4F information office.

“I have to say the final was my favorite game because it was so tense. Everyone was wondering who was going to win, the atmosphere was amazing even though we weren’t even at Wembley, and overall , it was just great to watch. Plus, reporting on those games was even more enjoyable, it made me take a closer look at the game and take notes not only in my head but also on paper, so that I could add them to my article. It also combined two things that I enjoy – writing and football. The role was an amazing experience, it gave me the opportunity to see the tournament through the eyes of a journalist or journalist Also going to see the game at Wembley was by far the best experience I could ever ask for.I am happy to be a part of the Football for Friendship community.

To find out more, visit the Gazprom Football for Friendship website.

About Leni Loberns

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