LONDON (THE GUARDIAN) - The English Premier League is determined to make a swift appointment to fill the vacant role of chief executive, after the surprise decision by Susanna Dinnage to walk away from the job.
That leaves broadcast executives Tim Davie and Tom Betts, the two candidates understood to have been on the original shortlist with Dinnage, as the most likely candidates.
Davie runs BBC Studios while Betts is ITV's director of strategy.
Dinnage accepted the task of succeeding Richard Scudamore in November but changed her mind over the Christmas period and has opted to stay at the media company Discovery, where she is the global president of Animal Planet.
The Premier League has an interim CEO in place, Claudia Arney, after Scudamore, 59, vacated his position in December. But it is understood to be set on making a quick appointment and is in the process of interviewing candidates.
Davie, 51, has been at the BBC since 2005, when he joined as director of marketing, communications and audience. He went on to become director of audio and music at the corporation before taking his current role in charge of the international for-profit division formerly known as BBC Worldwide.
He also temporarily held the role of director-general after the resignation of George Entwistle in 2012 during the Savile affair.
Betts has worked in independent television for nearly 30 years, and held several senior commercial positions at ITV. His current role sees him responsible for all mergers and acquisitions at the broadcaster.
Davie and Betts have been in the frame as Scudamore's possible replacement ever since succession planning began for the man whose 20 years at the Premier League turned the football competition into the world's most valuable sporting competition.
Dinnage's name was a surprise, meanwhile, with some Premier League club owners having reportedly been unaware of her candidacy before being asked to confirm her appointment.
The Premier League believes that Dinnage's U-turn was a simple change of heart, with the 51-year-old having decided she preferred not to leave the industry where she has worked throughout her career.
She has not commented herself but it is also the case that she would have taken a job whose main responsibility is to secure ongoing broadcast revenue for the league at a time of structural uncertainty, and with most of the current deals having only recently been tied up.
Domestic TV rights have been shared between Sky and BT Sport until the end of the 2021-22 season, with Amazon also entering the fray with the rights to two complete 'match days'.
There is a similar story overseas, where Scudamore recently agreed on new deals in the US and China, as well as an arrangement with Facebook to stream every Premier League match in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.