Lawyers check Lynam contract

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BBC LAWYERS are studying Des Lynam's contract to see whether he is liable to pay compensation over his move to ITV. A spokesman said there was no question of trying to hold on to the sports presenter, but the BBC had an obligation to licence-payers to check the financial details.

ould be no attempt to hold Lynam at the BBC mafor after announcing his defection to ITV, a corporation spokesman confirmed today. The face of BBC sport dropped the bombshell yesterday that he was leaving for the opposition after 30 years.

Lynam, 56, took his employers by surprise when he made the announcement, saying that he had begun to feel "a little stale".

The broadcaster said: "I've taken advice and I'm not in breach of contract."

However, the BBC legal team is now investigating the issue, as it understood his contract to be binding.

A spokesman said: "The legal situation is still being explored and the legal standing of his contract.

"As far as we are concerned his contract tied him with the BBC for another year."

Although they would not seek to force him to continue working for the BBC, they are examining whether they may be due any cash returns under the contract from either Lynam or his new employers.

"At the end of the day it's licence payers' money and we have an obligation to see whether money is to come back to us," the spokesman added.

A spokeswoman for ITV said today: "Legal advice has been taken. As we understand it there is no breach of contract."

Announcing his departure yesterday, Match Of The Day presenter Lynam said: "The reasoning behind this move is I needed a change - a breath of fresh air, I needed a new challenge.

"Where I was and where I had been for some considerable time, I was beginning to get a little stale - I hope it didn't show too much."

He has signed a four-year deal with ITV to present major live football, including matches from the Uefa Champions League and the FA Cup.