ESPN launch their UK EPL broadcasts at Everton’s Goodison Park last August (Photo: J.Corbett/WFI)

ESPN boss steps down after successful UK launch

ESPN vice-president Lynne Frank, who also serves as its managing director responsible for European, Middle East and African operations, has unexpectedly quit the company, less than a year after establishing the broadcaster as a serious player in notoriously tough British market.

The Californian saw the broadcaster take on the EPL rights held by the collapsed Irish broadcaster Setanta and oversee a successful bid for the FA Cup from next season.

Frank, who has reportedly taken the decision for personal reasons, is expected to return to the US.

“The past five years with ESPN, and 17 years in London, have been a remarkable and rewarding time for me both personally and professionally,” she said in a statement.

“ESPN is a tremendous company, with tremendous people, and I am extremely proud of the team, business and connection to fans that we are building. My focus and energy over the coming months will be to continue to strengthen each of those aspects.”

Russell Wolff, managing director of ESPN International, paid tribute to a “fantastic leader” and promised to work closely with her to ensure “a smooth transition”.

SFA search for new CEO as Smith resigns

The Scottish Football Association (SFA) is searching for a new Chief Executive following the resignation of Gordon Smith.

Smith, who replaced David Taylor three ago, has given no reason for his departure, although the Scottish media has been quick to speculate.

Personal reasons, such as the ill-health of his parents, have been cited, but so too has an imminent report, to be published by the Scottish parliament, which is expected to be critical about the state of the game in the country.

He has also been accused by some Scottish clubs of involving himself in disciplinary issues in an inappropriate manner. Smith has always denied the charges, and invited scrutiny to his role in allegations that have sometimes been inflated by an eager-to-criticise domestic media.

Chiles defects to front ITV World Cup coverage

Adrian Chiles, the popular host of BBC’s Match of the Day 2 highlights programme, has quite the corporation to sign a four year deal with ITV.

Formerly a business journalist, Chiles made a successful transition to sport in the last decade, first appearing on Football Focus and then the Sunday highlights programme, which the BBC launched when it regained EPL broadcast rights in 2004.

Chiles also hosted the corporation’s early evening weekday show, the One Show, but was known to be unhappy with recent editorial changes. As part of his ITV deal he will host its early-morning programme, GMTV.

Chiles will also front ITV’s World Cup coverage, and is the third high-profile presenter – following Des Lynam and Steve Ryder – to make the switch from the BBC to head the commercial broadcaster’s football coverage.

“The chance to front ITV’s football coverage and GMTV would have proved an irresistible opportunity at the best of times,” Chiles said.

“But, coming as it did at an awkward period for me at the BBC, it made the decision not quite as hard as it might have been.”

With reporting by James Corbett

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