Rachel Riley leaves Sky Sports in wake of Twitter abuse

The Countdown star will not be back for a second season of Friday Night Football

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Rachel Riley has left her role as co-host on Sky Sports commentary show Friday Night Football after less than a year in the job.

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The Countdown maths expert and avid Manchester United fan began presenting the programme alongside Sky stalwart Jeff Stelling in August 2016 but will not return next season.

There are suggestions that Riley’s decision may have been influenced by online abuse she received from Tottenham Hotspur fans in May after she described their 1-0 defeat to West Ham – which put paid to their title hopes – as a “proper bottle job”.

“Personal abuse is hideous,” she wrote on Twitter at the time. “For the record I didn’t say Spurs are bottle jobs but tonight’s game was a test of nerve. I said the game was a bottle job. Not the same as calling the team bottle jobs as is being circulated.”

However, a Sky source said the abuse was not a factor in Riley’s decision and that she had made it clear when handing in her notice that she had been considering leaving the role prior to the incidents. RadioTimes.com understands that discussions with Sky about extending her contract had not begun when she resigned. 

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“Looking back on the whole season, she’s loved it, enjoyed working with Jeff and all the other guys but didn’t feel it was the right thing for her to continue with next season”, said the source. “We hope that whatever is next for her is a huge success.”