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Sue, 64, has held the role of host on A Question of Sport for 24 years but it was announced on Sunday the BBC had taken the decision to replace the entire presenting team. For this reason, the leading star of the quiz programme and team captains Matt Dawson, 47, and Phil Tufnell, 54, are all having to bid goodbye as a shake-up has been ordered. Although the new line-up is yet to be officially confirmed, there is a likelihood former professional footballer Alex Scott, 35, could be in the running to man the helm in upcoming series.
The former professional tennis champion took on hosting duties back in 1997, at the time replacing the late sports commentator, David Coleman.
With the latter taking on the role from David Vine, Sue is the third presenter to oversee proceedings, with plans in place for her to film her final episode later this month.
As the recent announcement has sent shockwaves across the nation, Ladbrokes bookmakers already has odds on Alex being revealed as the sports veteran’s replacement.
At 2/1, the former Strictly contestant is the frontrunner to take the position as she has a wealth of knowledge on the subject.
Spokesperson Alex Apati said: “Alex Scott is one of the best pundits in the country right now but the odds suggest she may soon be turning her hand to presenting.”
Following the news she had been axed, Sue said in a statement: “I’ve absolutely loved my 24 years fronting A Question of Sport, it’s been my dream job.
“But I understand the BBC want to take the show in a new direction and I’m sad to say goodbye,” she continued.
A BBC spokesperson also commented: “We would like to thank Sue for her enormous contribution as the show’s longest-reigning host over the last 24 years, and Matt and Phil for their excellent team captaincy.
“Together they have ensured A Question of Sport remains a firm favourite with the BBC One audience,” they added.
It’s been my dream job
On Monday’s edition of Good Morning Britain, there was a debate on whether Sue’s axing has sparked an ageism row.
Royal correspondent and broadcaster Jennie Bond, 70, said: “I’ve no doubt that women do suffer more than men – there’s a big gender debate to be had here.
“I suspect that because the other two have also been axed, this isn’t just about age. Sue will be hurting this morning.
“You can’t do anything about your age and there is a pressure on television, women, in particular, to look younger.”
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Taking to Twitter, fans of the show have also reacted to Sue’s departure, with one writing: “When Sue Barker was announced as presenter of @QuestionofSport there was outrage – how can a woman present a sports show?
“She was a real trailblazer, so I’m sorry to hear she’s leaving the show. When I worked with her she taught me so much about what being professional means.”
Another added: “Can’t believe it! @BBC have axed Sue Barker, Matt Dawson & Phil Tufnell from A Question of Sport! They are the reason I watch and love the programme.”
Whilst a third commented: “I love Question of Sport, particularly Sue Barker, leave it alone BBC #Questionofsport.”
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It has been revealed Sue will stay with the network as part of the presenting team who cover the annual Wimbledon tournament coverage.
The former tennis professionals co-stars have also spoken out on their axing, with Matt writing in view of his 257,800 followers: “Thanks for all the lovely messages.
“I’m not sure how to respond so I’ll have a think. Needless to say, I will miss @QuestionofSport immensely.”
“13 yrs @QuestionofSport has been a great part of life … going to miss it hugely … thanks so much for all the lovely messages!” Phil added in view of his 354,900 followers.
A Question of Sport returns later next year on BBC One.
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