BBC’s Football Focus is at the centre of a row between Alex Scott and Dan Walker over the ailing programme.
It has been claimed the 49-year-old show faces crisis talks after losing more than a third of its audience in the space of four years, with former England international Scott leading its coverage following Walker’s departure as main presenter in 2021.
Mark Lawrenson, who was let go last year after appearing on the programme for 25 years, said Football Focus has “served its time” while the BBC insist the show remains popular among viewers.
Walker, who defected to Channel 5 last year, posted on X: “It’s hard to see Football Focus struggling. I loved it growing up and it was an honour to present it and I still miss it.
“We poured everything into that show every week and worked hard to keep it relevant. I hope it stays part of the TV landscape.”
Scott replied “interesting” in what readers online viewed as a dig at her predecessor, before Walker said the show faced challenges in a competitive market.
“I’m not saying you haven’t [worked hard] Alex,” Walker said. “It’s a saturated market and it’s hard work every week. I hope you have a good show today.”
The row comes in a week when the BBC snubbed English rugby by turning down the chance to show the Red Roses’ upcoming matches against Canada – despite being offered the rights for free.
England host World Cup semi-finalists Canada, ranked fourth in the world, at Sandy Park this Saturday and at the Stonex Stadium on Sept 30, with both fixtures acting as warm-up games for the new global competition, WXV.
Both matches were offered to the BBC for nothing in the hope that they could be shown on BBC iPlayer as a bare minimum. But the corporation, which is two years into a five-year deal to show the Women’s Six Nations, is understood to have declined to show both games. When approached by Telegraph Sport, the BBC said it does not comment on its sports rights negotiations.