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Sportswashing, mental health struggles and stadium preachers win top prizes for journalism students

Stories about sportswashing, stadium preachers and a retired footballer’s mental health struggles have won top national awards for journalism students.

The Football Writers’ Association has announced the winners of its annual Student Football Writer of the Year Awards, with three prizes being claimed in total.

FWA Vikki Orvice Student Football Writer of the Year went to De Montfort University’s Lara Alsaid, 21, for her feature on former Leicester City and Sunderland winger Matt Piper, who opened up about his problems with addiction following his injury-forced retirement aged 26.

FWA/Kick It Out Unheard Voices Football Writer of the Year was claimed by 29-year-old Morgan Ofori, of Goldsmiths College, University of London, for his feature looking at the ownership problems of League Cup finalists Newcastle United and Manchester United.

From left: Lara Alsaid, Morgan Ofori and Dom Smith

From left: Lara Alsaid, Morgan Ofori and Dom Smith

And News Associates London student Dom Smith,22, claimed the FWA Hugh McIlvanney Student Football Writer of the Year prize for his interview with a Christian evangelist who preaches outside all the big football matches in London.

Each of the winners will receive a prize of £1000, plus copies of all six of the titles shortlisted for the FWA Football Book of the Year Award.

Daily Telegraph journalist and head of the judging panel Jim White, who also sits on the FWA national executive committee, said: “This is the third year of the FWA Student Football Writer of the Year awards and the standard seems to be getting ever higher.

“This year we received over 500 submissions, the excellence of which suggests the future of the football writing business is bright indeed.”