Jacqui Oatley MBE
|Education||St Dominic's, Brewood|
Wolverhampton Grammar School
|Alma mater||University of Leeds|
Sheffield Hallam University
|Known for||First female football commentator on Match of the Day|
Jacqui Oatley () is a leading English broadcaster.
She is a sports presenter, football commentator and podcast host. Oatley provides live match commentary on the UEFA Champions League, hosts ITV Sport's live darts coverage and a weekly football podcast for The Athletic. She is best known for being the first female commentator on the flagship BBC One football highlights programme Match of the Day which she presented in March 2015. She has anchored and commentated on several major football tournaments and Olympic Games, starting with UEFA Women's Euro 2005, latterly fronting Euro 2016 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup for ITV Sport. She was a live match commentator for the host broadcaster's world TV feed on-site at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France.
An FA qualified football coach, an ambassador for Women in Football and a national committee member of the Football Writers' Association, Oatley was the UK's first female darts presenter, covering Professional Darts Corporation tournaments on ITV4 and the BBC's flagship sports news radio show, Sportsweek on BBC Radio 5 Live. She was the first female to do so. In August 2015, Oatley was named the eighth most influential woman in sport by The Independent.
She has also fronted Final Score for the BBC and The Football League Show, completing the set of five broadcast roles on the show, and World Football Focus. She has been the darts anchor for ITV Sport since 2015, hosting their live international PDC events. She had previously presented ITV's 2015 Africa Cup of Nations coverage and in 2014 anchored their FA Cup highlights programmes.
Oatley fronted the BBC's live women's football coverage including the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, the , the UEFA Women's Euro 2013 and the BBC Women's Football Show. She has been a studio guest pundit on TV2 in Norway and the Guardian Football Weekly podcast. She has hosted the weekly Wolverhampton Wanderers "Molineux View" podcast for The Athletic since January 2020 to date.
Oatley was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2016 New Year Honours for services to broadcasting and diversity in sport. The award was recognition of her work behind the scenes championing the role of women working in football as well as women's football.
Oatley was born in Wolverhampton in 1975. She was brought up in Codsall, South Staffordshire. Her late father Gerald was the managing director of a large gas appliance company; her mother Sonja is a retired nurse who was born and brought up in South Africa, where her parents were Norwegian missionaries. Her cousin in South Africa was a Springboks cricket selector, while his brother was a rally driver who twice won the Roof of Africa.
In her childhood, Oatley developed a love of watching and playing football. She is a fan of Wolverhampton Wanderers. She attended the all-girls junior school, St Dominic's in Brewood, Staffordshire. Oatley passed her A-Levels at Wolverhampton Grammar School, and studied at University of Leeds, graduating with a degree in German in 1996.
Oatley spent a year travelling the world, and then moved to London to work in intellectual property as a Sales and Marketing Manager, then Key Account Manager. While playing amateur football for Chiswick Ladies Football Club, Oatley sustained a dislocated knee cap and ruptured ligaments, which resulted in a reconstruction operation and ten months recovering on crutches. With further operations to follow, she was told she would no longer be able to play sport. That news prompted her decision to change career and train to become a journalist, with the aim of working in sport - particularly her beloved football.
Oatley initially studied print journalism and radio production at evening classes while broadcasting on hospital radio. She then gave up her intellectual property management job as well as her flat, spent a summer sleeping on friends' floors whilst doing journalism work experience full-time. She undertook a Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) in Broadcast Journalism at Sheffield Hallam University. While studying she joined BBC Radio Leeds as a sports reporter, continuing to work there after graduation. Her first commentary was on a match between Wakefield & Emley and Worksop Town in the Unibond League.
Oatley also worked as a news reporter in her native West Midlands with BBC WM, before moving back to London to work as a sports reporter for BBC London 94.9. She joined BBC Radio 5 Live in 2003 and became the first woman to commentate on a football match on British network radio in 2005, covering the England women's internationals at the 2005 UEFA Women's Championship. Her subsequent interview with UEFA President Lennart Johansson became an international news story due to his controversial comments on women's football.
Oatley became the first female football commentator in the history of BBC football programme Match of the Day, with her debut broadcast on 21 April 2007 for the Premier League match between Fulham F.C. and Blackburn Rovers F.C.. She has since commentated on several further games for Match of the Day.
Oatley was the Austria-based reporter for BBC Television at Euro 2008, reported and commentated at the Women's World Cup in China in 2007 and presented and commentated on a television show Level Up during the World Cup in Germany in 2006. She commentated on live football matches for BBC Television during the Beijing Olympics. In September 2009, she commentated on the Euro 2009 final between Germany and England and did several live commentaries for BBC Radio 5 Live at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. She was BBC Television reporter with the Great Britain women's Olympic football team for the 2012 Summer Olympics.
In 2013 and 2014 Oatley hosted Late Kick Off on BBC One in London and the South East and anchored UEFA Women's Euro 2013. She was also a reporter on Football Focus and Final Score on BBC One and a Premier League presenter on their worldwide television channel, produced by IMG.
She was a regular sports presenter on the BBC News Channel between 2011 and 2013.
She has previously presented sports news on BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 4, as well as more frequently on BBC Radio 5 Live. She has covered the World Snooker Championship, British Moto GP, Open Championship golf, and various other sports such as tennis and rugby league.
Oatley also appears regularly on Sky Sports programming, currently as a match reporter on Soccer Saturday and has stand-in presented Goals on Sunday and Sunday Supplement. She was announced as the new presenter of Sunday Supplement, taking over from Neil Ashton, on 14 January 2020 until the show was cancelled following the COVID-19 lockdown.
She is married and gave birth to a daughter in 2011 and a son in 2014.