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Dixon swaps the Beeb for ITV Sport

Former Arsenal and England defender Lee Dixon has decided to swap the BBC and join ITV Sport’s punditry team for the 2012-13 campaign.

The 48-year-old, who is known to have a close friendship with ITV anchor Adrian Chiles, from his MOTD2 days, joined the company less than 24 hours after confirming his departure from the BBC.

He wrote on his Twitter account: “Sad to be leaving BBC. Nothing lasts forever. New challenges ahead. Loved my time there. Wonderful people…just time to move on.”

24 hours later, he posted: “So there it is, ITV it is then. Very excited about the job.” #livefootballisfun

The hashtag seems to indicate that Dixon preferred to be part of a team that has plenty of live coverage in the coming season, whereas the BBC becomes only a highlights package channel this campaign.

Delighted

ITV’s Director of Sport, Niall Sloane said: “We are delighted that Lee is joining our team with his wealth of experience, knowledge and insight.

“His appointment follows our acclaimed Euro 2012 broadcasts and signals ITV Sport’s intention to continue to bring viewers top-quality coverage.”

Dixon, who won four league championship medals in his time with Arsenal, ends an eight year association with the BBC, which stretches back to Euro 2004.

He will join Roy Keane as a regular pundit of ITV’s live football team in their new Tuesday night Champions League slot, as well as key England internationals, the Europa League and the FA Cup.

The appointment put Gareth Southgate’s future with the corporation in some doubt, despite him stepping down last week as the FA’s Head of Elite Development.

ITV will be hoping for a better season after dismal ratings for the Euro 2012 final, where they received paltry figures of 1.7m viewers, in comparison to the 10.2m people who tuned in to see Spain’s mauling of Italy on BBC.

By Simon Wright – Follow me on Twitter @Siwri88

Follow Total Football on Twitter: @TotalFootball12

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