Best of AP — Honorable Mention


AP ahead with news on French soccer club Marseille firing Italian coach Gattuso

Marseille‘s head coach Gennaro Gattuso gestures to his players during the Europa League League play-off first leg soccer match between Shakhtar Donetsk and Olympique Marseille at Volksparkstadion in Hamburg, Feb. 15, 2024. Gattuso has been fired by the French league club, a person with direct knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press Feb. 19, 2024. AP PHOTO / MARTIN MEISSNER


Brussels sportswriter Samuel Petrequin tapped into his network of sources in the French soccer world to confirm speculation that Marseille was firing its Italian coach Gennaro Gattuso, a scoop that got picked up by AP clients in both Europe and the U.S.

Petrequin has been cultivating sources in French soccer for years including at Marseille, which was the country’s most prominent team before Paris Saint-Germain took over. When American Frank McCourt took control of Marseille eight years ago with the ambition to restore its grandeur, AP’s interest in the club grew, and Petrequin redoubled his efforts to develop sources. He checked in with club officials on a regular basis to get the latest news on transfers and managerial changes.

His source-building paid off when French sports media started speculating that Gattuso’s days in Marseille were numbered after a string of poor results. Petrequin reached out to sources in the club, one of whom confirmed that the Italian coach had just been fired. After vetting his sources with his manager, Petrequin put the news out a day ahead of the official announcement.

ESPN cited AP’s Gattuso scoop as did Italian partner LaPresse, which alerted the news, citing AP. Swedish news agency TT also picked up the AP story.

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