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Sports alumna becomes first female commentator in the UAE

Amy Gillingham made history when she became the first female commentator in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), after studying Sports Studies at the University of Central Lancashire.

With a desire to pursue a career within Sport, Amy chose to study BA (Hons) Sports Studies at UCLan. Talking about her degree choice, Amy said: “Sports Studies which UCLan offered was perfect for me as it focused on a number of areas within the Sports industry, providing me with different options when I graduated.”

From an early age, Amy has always been involved within Sport, with football being the one that stood out to her. Amy has played for a number of clubs such as Liverpool Feds and FC United of Manchester. During her time at University, the sports and social life was a huge highlight for Amy.

After graduation, Amy enrolled on a Post Graduate Certificate in Physical Education (PGCE) as well as working part-time for a financial services company and coaching football.

When Amy completed her PGCE, she moved from Southport to the UAE after being offered an opportunity to teach PE for the Emirates School Establishment. In Amy’s teaching role she organises and prepares PE lessons in primary and secondary schools, runs European Club Association (ECA) clubs and upskills PE teachers across the country.

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One day, five years after first moving to the UAE, Amy was playing football with children and staff at a local car wash when a TV Executive spotted them. This fateful encounter led Amy to receiving a phone call months later where she was asked to commentate on the Super Cup Final.

After this experience, Amy signed a contract with the ADNOC Pro League UAE as an English Football Commentator. Amy’s role involves commentating on the professional football league within the UAE, providing live footage and action across channels within the country and worldwide. She works in this role alongside working as a PE Teacher.

Amy officially became the first female commentator in the UAE on 7 January 2022 when Al Jazira took on Shabab Al-Ahl.

Talking about the journey that helped her get to this position, Amy said: “Being a Physical Education teacher and coach has allowed me to explore the game further, not just from the playing side. This has helped within game analysis and has broadened my knowledge further, which has all helped me to gain and strive forward within football commentary."

"UCLan was a fantastic University which provided much opportunity as a student and graduate. The sports and social life was a huge highlight for me and as a graduate I will be forever grateful."

Amy Gillingham, BA (Hons) Sports Studies graduate

Reflecting on her lasting memories at University, Amy said: “UCLan was a fantastic University which provided much opportunity as a student and graduate. The sports and social life was a huge highlight for me and as a graduate I will be forever grateful. I actually heard about the teaching role in the UAE from a lecturer so without my degree and connection with the University, I would not be where I am today. Thank you UCLan.”

When asked about what advice she would give to those wanting to do something similar, Amy said: “The broadcast industry seems to be a tricky field to get into, but I am a huge believer in fate and if you have a passion and love for something then never give up. Do voluntary work and put yourself out there, to connect with the right people.

She continued: “Once you meet the right people, if it is what you are meant to do, then this will shine through, and you will land your dream job. When you graduate the world is your oyster, so don’t let anyone or anything hold you back.”