Meet the female face of football by hosting the EFL play-offs

There has never been a series of playoffs like this, but it will be a familiar face broadcast from Wembley.

Bela Shah joined Sky Sports in 2018 and this weekend she will be heading to the National Stadium to host some of football’s most lucrative matches.

It starts with the Brentford Championship play-off final against Swansea, a repeat of last season’s semi-final.

For Shah, this is the latest achievement of his dream job, even though it was entered through an unconventional route.

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Having started out as a lawyer at ITV Sport, Shah admits that she initially did not consider a career in sports journalism, not least because she “hadn’t seen a lot of people who looked like me” – but that landscape is changing. changing.

“Sports journalism is still a male dominated industry, but there has been a huge positive change in recent years,” she said. I.

“In the past there were times when I felt intimidated and maybe you needed to prove yourself a little more as a woman in sports. But I don’t feel like that anymore. I think the industry welcomes change and diversity.

“There were times when I was asked ‘oh, so do you like sports ?!’ It’s such a strange question to ask a sports broadcaster. Are male sports broadcasters asking the same question? But these types of questions usually come from outside the industry.

“In my daily work environment, I feel respected, I feel on an equal footing. The scenery really changes in more ways than sex. I get messages from Asian women – and men – saying they’re really proud to see me on screen. And that means a lot.

Shah, who first joined Sky after posting a showreel of his previous live broadcasts, is the latest indicator of the growing opportunities for broadcasters from different backgrounds. “When I watch television, in the credits, I would always try to spot an Asian name,” she adds.

“I would always spot him because it made me think ‘it is possible’. But when I started in broadcasting I felt a little intimidated because it was a male dominated space. I don’t know if it was my own reservations.

“I’ve had comments in the past in previous organizations where it has caused me to ask ‘do they think I’m right here by checking two boxes?’ But I was confident in my abilities and knew I was there on merit.

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