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Premier League targets swift appointment after Dinnage pulls out of chief executive role

The Premier League is set to move quickly to appoint a new chief executive, after Susanna Dinnage revealed she would not be taking up the role as previously announced.

Dinnage, who was confirmed as the replacement for Richard Scudamore in November last year, shocked the league on December 30, when she advised the nominations committee that she had reversed her decision, opting instead to remain with broadcast group Discovery, where she is the global president of Animal Planet.

No explanation was offered by either Dinnage herself or the Premier League, though it is believed to have been simply due to a change of heart and a desire to remain in the industry she has worked in throughout her career. Her only previous experience with sport came when she oversaw Discovery’s British and Irish operation, which included responsibility for Eurosport.

As Scudamore has now officially departed and no start date had been set for Dinnage, the Premier League was already set to be headed by an acting chair, Claudia Arney, and an acting chief executive, Richard Masters, for the foreseeable future. That arrangement will now be extended, although the league has said it is already talking to candidates and hopes to name a new chief executive shortly.

According to The Guardian, the body is determined to press ahead with appointing a chief executive from a broadcast background, and has identified its two primary targets as the BBC’s Tim Davie and ITV’s Tom Betts. Both men were in the frame after Scudamore initially announced his retirement.

The task awaiting the new chief executive is daunting. Broadcast revenues have sustained the league’s growth since its inception but, with the domestic rights deal hitting £5.14bn (€5.7bn/$6.5bn) for the current cycle, are not projected to rise significantly. The new boss will also have to negotiate the challenges posed by Brexit, which is expected to bring strained relations with the FA over the potential introduction of homegrown player quotas.