Rider quits ITV Sport as Chiles gets World Cup gig

Steve Rider has quit as ITV Sport’s main presenter, apparently unhappy at his relegation in the sporting pecking order at the channel following the signing of Adrian Chiles to front ITV’s World Cup coverage.

There had been speculation over Rider’s future earlier this week, when it was made known that – before Chiles’s formal arrival from the BBC – ITV’s prestigous live coverage of Saturday’s FA Cup final and next week’s European Cup final would be fronted by Matt Smith.

Today, ITV announced that it had reached an “amicable agreement” with Rider, who joined from BBC Sport in 2005 as part of its Formula 1 coverage as well as high-profile football.

Last month, it was announced that Niall Sloane, ITV’s Head of Sport, had managed to lure Chiles to the commercial channel. Chiles had enjoyed a meteoric rise as a TV presenter on the BBC, starting on a lunchtime business programme, before fronting one of the strands in the popular Apprentice franchise and, for the past four years, co-hosting the popular early evening The One Show.

But the West Brom fanatic’s sports credentials were rubber stamped when the Sloane, then in charge of football coverage at the BBC, chose Chiles as the regular host of the acclaimed MOTD2.

Chiles now will become ITV’s face of sport – having lost F1 two years ago, the channel has few other sports rights – and also take charge of the GMTV sofa in the autumn.

Chiles will present the two England friendly matches that ITV is scheduled to show before the start of the World Cup next month, beginning with Mexico on May 24.

Today, ITV said that discussions were ongoing about “future projects and opportunities” to work with Rider.

“It was important to get this sorted before such an important few weeks for ITV Sport,” said Rider, who first worked for ITV more than 30 years ago, before joining the BBC, where he presented Grandstand and much of its golf coverage.

“From World of Sport through to Formula ! and football, I’d like to thank Steve for the immense contribution he has made to ITV’s sports coverage through the years,” said Peter Fincham, the ITV director of television, channels and online.

Chiles’s appointment means that ITV will have a different main presenter for the seventh consecutive World Cup, following Brian Moore, Elton Welsby, Matt Lorenzo, Bob Wilson, Des Lynam and Rider. It is also noteworthy that only one of those presenters stepped down from the role of their own accord.

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