Jacqui Oatley joins ITV Sport as presenter

Jacqui Oatley is set to join ITV as a regular sports presenter at the beginning of the next football season.

From September, Oatley will take over as ITV’s deputy football presenter, anchoring regular programmes on ITV4 as well as some coverage of matches on the flagship ITV channel in the absence of main presenter Mark Pougatch.

She takes over the the secondary ITV football presenting position from Matt Smith, who is leaving ITV Sport at the end of the current football campaign after 14 years with the broadcaster.

In addition to football, Oatley will also take over from Smith as presenter of ITV’s live darts coverage, with her first tournament fronting ITV4’s live action set to be the PDC European Championship in Belgium at the end of October.

Bringing a wealth of experience from a career at the top level of sports broadcasting, Oatley was the first ever female commentator on the BBC’s Match of the Day back in 2007, and has been a regular fixture across the BBC’s football coverage on TV and radio since.

Working as a freelancer over the past few seasons, Oatley has presented numerous football programmes on ITV over the two years, including FA Cup and Africa Cup of Nations coverage.

She also becomes the first regular football presenter on ITV since Gabby Logan led the channel’s live coverage of Champions League games between 2004 and 2006.

On joining ITV on a regular basis from September, Oatley said: “I’m delighted to have been asked to join the ITV team from next season.

“I’ve had a fantastic time working with them over the last couple of years and look forward to continuing that relationship at major tournaments.”

Niall Sloane, ITV Director of Sport, said: “Jacqui’s outstanding knowledge and experience make her a first class addition to the ITV Sport team. We look forward to welcoming her on board in September.”

Oatley confirmed via her Twitter account that she will continue to work across the BBC’s football output on an occasional basis from next season.

She will lead the BBC’s on-air team for its comprehensive live coverage of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada this summer, having been the corporation’s main presenter of its women’s football coverage since 2012.

The signing of Oatley on a regular basis from next season marks another significant change in ITV’s football presentation, following the departure of Adrian Chiles in January and the news that presenter Matt Smith and Andy Townsend would not be retained on full-time contracts by the channel beyond this season.

ITV’s recent recruit Mark Pougatch, who took over from Chiles as the network’s lead football presenter at the beginning of the year, and Oatley are set to be ITV’s main presenters for the next major international tournament, the European Championships in France, in 2016.

With the loss of live Champions League and Europa League football from next season, ITV’s only live football output outside major tournaments will be England international fixtures and other European Qualifiers, but they will show regular highlights of both UEFA club competitions next seasons, plus selected pre-season friendlies.