Ahead of the 2019 UEFA Awards and Champions League draw, resident blogger Asif Burhan spoke to Asif Burhan spoke to sports broadcaster and long-term Kick It Out supporter Reshmin Chowdhury, who will co-host the event.

Reshmin reflects on the preparation that goes into the job and an insight into what it's like to host a major event.


This is the third year you've presented UEFA's Awards and Champions League draw. Is there anything about this job which makes it different to the many other things you've done in football?

It's such an honour! It's not like anything else I do in the day job. It's just a lovely event to be a part of. It's where destinies are decided. It's glitzy, it's glamorous and has all the fun sides of football, as well as being serious.

Your co-host, Pedro Pinto, has hosted the awards many times, did he offer you any advice before your first one?

Haha, no! He saw me presenting an event before the Champions League Final in Cardiff in 2017. After some late changes at UEFA, he asked me to do the Draw a few months later. Pedro and I get on really well. I think having a great relationship with your co-host is a really important element of the job.

Do you think it would be possible to host such an event if you didn’t speak another language?

It's more of a balanced presentation. If only one person is doing the other languages, it doesn't look right. In an international setting, English will always be the main language, but having more up your sleeve gives you an advantage.

The event is broadcast live around the world, considering your background, have you noticed any more interest in you from the Indian sub-continent?

I have, actually! In Bangladesh it's massive, my relatives there always watch. From the sub-continent, you end up with a lot of followers on social media. They like to see someone from a different background. It's something for them to be proud of, maybe to aspire to. It's nice for me to be able to represent that as well.

As a woman, do you feel judged on what you wear at such a ceremony? Do UEFA offer any guidance or is it up to you?

UEFA have a brief on what colours I'm allowed to wear depending on the background. Am I judged? For the first one, I thought I would be. I had two outfits and asked some colleagues for their opinion. All the guys went for the safe option. Every woman said to me: “No, go really glam!” There's no shame in looking glamorous and taking pride in your work at the same time. It's about shattering that myth and changing the perception that women are there to look a certain way. I'm there because I can do the job.

You’ve presented the UEFA President’s Award to three legends, Francesco Totti, David Beckham and now Eric Cantona. Which of them were you most excited about speaking to, were you at all nervous?

I don't really get nervous - I see all footballers as just people. David Beckham is David Beckham! Having him on stage last year definitely added some stardust, plus Victoria attended too, which added to the grandeur of the event.

In 2017 many of the other nominees were queuing up to get selfies with Cristiano Ronaldo. At such a star-studded event, is it difficult to stay professional and suppress the fan inside you?

I don't think you should ever suppress the fan inside you. If you do, you're lying to yourself. Why not just enjoy it? It shows you what heroes these people are. I'd covered Spanish football for ages, Cristiano I've known for years but I'd never met Messi. I got to speak to one of the greatest players ever to grace the Earth. I should be excited about it - it's Lionel Messi! We do this job because we're football fans. It's a privilege to be in that position.

Are you told who the winners will be before the awards?

We don't find out. If we hear something it'd be on the grapevine. There's only a handful of people who have that secret envelope!

You've run workshops at Kick It Out's Raise Your Game conference. For people seeking to emulate you, what's the piece of advice you've passed on the most?

Never give up. Always follow your dream but be prepared to work hard and don't expect anything to fall into your lap. The lows of the job are all part of it as well. That knock-back, that rejection is all part of your journey. You've just got to roll with the punches.