Football

Adrian Chiles replaced as ITV lead football host by Mark Pougatch

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ITV Sport have decided to replaced Adrian Chiles as their lead football host, with immediate effect.

Chiles is a polarising presenter to put it politely, often criticised for being decidedly dour in his approach to what many would regard as a dream job.

The 47-year-old has fronted ITV's football output since 2010 and earned a whopping £4.6 million in 2013, but his time in the channel's prime sport role has now been handed to Mark Pougatch.

Pougatch gets the gig

Veteran sports presenter Pougatch has been pushed into the prominent role, after working across a whole range of television and radio programming over the last decade, most notably for Radio Five Live.

Pougatch will continue to work with Five Live alongside his big new TV gig, which begins in February as host of Chelsea's Champions League last 16 showdown with Paris Saint-Germain.

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Changing landscape at ITV

ITV have of course lost the rights to Europe's premier club competition for next season, which means Pougatch will have to make do with England international qualifiers, friendlies and the big tournaments every two years if the venture proves a success.

Pougatch will have to work with Andy Townsend until his contract expires at the end of the season, but was still very happy to take the exciting job on straight away.

“I am absolutely delighted to be joining ITV and to be given this great opportunity," said Pougatch. I'm looking forward to working with ITV's talented pool of commentators and pundits on some of the very best football there is."

Football fans rejoice

This is definitely a landmark day for fans of the beautiful game forced to watch England on terrestrial TV, with Chiles following Townsend out of the ITV exit door in somewhat mysterious circumstances.

The inevitable social media frenzy soon followed, with football fans rejoicing in an arguably long-overdue change of the guard.

Chiles has always attracted a special kind of attention online and with some justification, perhaps thrust from the comfort of the Match of the Day 2 studio to live lead presenting too soon. 

Good luck to Pougatch, on this evidence it may prove something of a poisoned chalice.

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