Barely 24 hours after his own newspaper’s website was reporting that Ben Clissitt, sports editor of The Guardian, was to leave to join the Telegraph, Guardian Unlimited reported tonight that he had done a U-turn an opted to stay at Farringdon Road.
Clissitt’s expected move to the Telegraph move had been the main topic of conversation among the British sports pack in Moscow ahead of England’s disappointing European championship match with Russia.
Some senior sports desk figures speculate that the already well-rewarded Clissitt may have secured a salary hike of at least Â£50,000. Others connected with The Guardian questioned whether Clissitt’s loyalty to the newspaper ought to be called into question over the manoeuvre.
Guardian Unlimited had reported on Wednesday that Clissitt, previously assistant features editor at the paper before becoming sports editor in 1999, had opted to join the Telegraph Group in an assistant editor role overseeing integration across the Daily and Sunday titles and their website, following talks with editor-in-chief Will Lewis.
Today, they quoted Clissitt as saying: “I had been talking to Will Lewis about a senior integration role in Telegraph Media Group which was very tempting, but after much thought I have decided to stay at the Guardian.”
Clissitt had told colleagues in recent times that he was looking for an internal promotion, but yesterday the Evening Standard reported that he has been lured to the Telegraph â€œfor such a vast sum that his current employer was unable to match itâ€. The only possible assumption now must be that Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger must have had a late change of mind.
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