BT Sport’s senior pitch-side interviewer Des Kelly has left the channel ahead of their rebrand as TNT Sport next week.
Mail Sport has learned that Kelly’s last engagement for the channel was Manchester City’s Champions League final over Inter Milan last month, when he caused controversy by asking Ilkay Gundogan for his autograph live on air at the Ataturk Stadium.
Kelly is the second high-profile and long-serving broadcaster to leave BT this summer following the departure of presenter Jake Humphrey, who as Mail Sport revealed in May will be replaced by Laura Woods.
Kelly’s move also follows the departure of his opposite number at Sky Sports Geoff Shreeves, who last week confirmed he had left the company after 30 years.
Kelly spent 10 years at BT following a successful career in newspaper journalism, beginning with an evening chat-show before being switched to pitch-side reporting and interviewing duties.
The 58-year-old developed a reputation for asking tough questions and enjoyed some memorable clashes with several managers particularly Jurgen Klopp, whose repeated complaints about television companies moving fixtures he robustly scrutinised.
His departure has shocked many colleagues at BT who enjoyed working with him and considered him an untouchable part of the team.
BT Sport will be consigned to history on 18 July with the official launch of TNT, although most of their existing presenters and pundits are expected to be kept on.
With Woods replacing Humphrey on Champions League nights Lynsey Hipgrave will remain as the channel’s main Premier League presenter, with the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Jermaine Jenas and Joe Cole also to be retained.
A spokesperson for Warner Brothers Discovery, who own TNT Sport, declined to comment.