Niall Sloane was today named as ITV’s head of sport, less than a month after he announced his resignation as the BBC’s head of football and motor racing.
The task facing the Ulsterman may be something of a poisoned chalice, following ITV’s recent announcement on its finances, job losses and decision, today, not to move to MediaCity in Salford.
Sloane quit the BBC just days after Barbara Slater was appointed BBC director of sport.
In his new job, he will report to Michael Jermey, ITV director of news, current affairs and sport.
Sloane’s career path appears to be following that of Brian Barwick, another broadcaster who cut his teeth on Match of the Day before going on to head the sports department of the BBC and then moving to ITV. Barwick, of course, later became chief executive of the FA.
Sloane, a former footballer for Sheffield Wednesday, joined BBC sport in 1982, spending six years as an assistant producer.
After a further six years as assistant editor for Sportsnight and Match of The Day, he became editor of Match of The Day in 1995 before moving in 2000 to become head of football and F1.
Sloane is expected to stay on at the BBC for the first two races of the 2009 F1 season before leaving in mid-April.
In his new role, Sloane will oversee ITV Sport’s coverage of events including the FA Cup, England internationals, the World Cup, the Champions League, the Uefa Cup, the Tour de France, British Touring Cars, boxing, darts and rugby.
Jermey said: “Niall has a superb track record in the production of major sports events and is respected across the sports industry. I have no doubt that he is the right person to lead ITV Sport’s fantastic portfolio of live football.” ITV Sport was heavily criticised last month when – during the Everton-Liverpool fifth-round cup tie – the broadcaster cut to an ad break during extra time and so missed the only goal of the game.
Sloane, who is expected to join ITV in late April, said: “ITV is one of the main pillars of sports broadcasting in the UK and has a great role to play in uniting mass audiences behind major sports events. I’m delighted to be joining the network to lead coverage of such an unrivalled portfolio of live football.”
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