Ian Wright forced to leave ITV's FA Cup coverage over family bereavement

Ian Wright abruptly left ITV's FA Cup coverage after receiving news that his mother had passed away. (Credit: Getty)

Former footballer Ian Wright left the ITV coverage of last weekend’s FA Cup fixture mid programme, leaving viewers wondering where the Arsenal legend had disappeared to.

Wright, who retired in 2000, was a pundit for the Rochdale v Plymouth Argyle game on Sunday afternoon (5 December) before leaving the stadium during halftime, 30 seconds before Wright and fellow pundits were due to go on air.

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But why did Ian Wright leave the Crown Oil Arena and what happened to his family?

Why was Ian Wright forced off air?

Viewers watched Wright, 58, fail to return to screens on Sunday during the coverage after the pundit received some distressing news.

Wright was given news that his mum had unfortunately died during the Rochdale v Plymouth Argyle match.

He was due to go on air during half time to discuss the game so far but was rushed away after being given the news.

Presenter of the coverage Mark Pougatch informed viewers, saying: "Ian, I’m afraid is not [with us at half-time]. A family bereavement, so he has gone to where he is most needed - with his family."

The sad news came after Ian was described as being in a “buoyant mood”, with the pundit joking with and taking pictures with supporters at the game ahead of the 12.15pm kick off.

What happened to Ian Wright’s mum?

A spokesman for Ian confirmed that his mum, Nesta, had passed away on Sunday aged 94.

The reason for her death is currently unknown.

Netsa had raised Ian in Brockley, South London, with Ian opening up about his difficult upbringing in a BBC documentary called Home Truths.

In the TV show, he revealed that he had been raised by Nesta and his abusive stepfather, and that he had since made peace with his mum.

A friend of Wright’s told The Sun: “Ian would be the first to admit he had a difficult relationship with his mum, but hearing your own flesh and blood has passed away is never easy. It’s upsetting news to hear for anyone.

“He was told just before he went back on air at half time, and wanted to be with his family, which ITV obviously totally understood.

“He left the ground immediately to be with them.”

Coverage of the game, which Plymouth Argyle eventually won 2-1, continued with former Rochdale striker Grant Holt staying on as pundit.

What has Ian Wright said about the situation?

Currently, Ian has not commented on the situation.

However, fans of the popular pundit and TV personality sent their best messages to him and his family.

One Twitter user voiced the thoughts of Ian’s 2 million followers and sent their best regards, writing: “Condolences Wrighty.”