Coe at­tacks Lo­gan in tirade against neg­a­tive cov­er­age

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Spor World Athletics Championsh­ips - By Ben Bloom

Lord Coe has launched an as­ton­ish­ing at­tack on the BBC and its lead ath­let­ics pre­sen­ter Gabby Lo­gan for paint­ing the sport in a neg­a­tive light and then “clear­ing off back to Match of the Day”.

Much of the fo­cus at these Doha World Cham­pi­onships has been on an em­bar­rass­ing lack of crowds in­side the Khal­ifa In­ter­na­tional Sta­dium, with pun­dit Denise Lewis say­ing the “gov­ern­ing body has let our ath­letes down” by bring­ing the event to Qatar.

Nu­mer­ous com­peti­tors have also been vo­cal in ex­press­ing their dis­ap­point­ment at vast swathes of empty seats, but the In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Ath­let­ics Fed­er­a­tions pres­i­dent yes­ter­day de­cided to vent his anger at the BBC for giv­ing the is­sue so much air­time.

“It’s very easy to sit there and make all sorts of Gabby Lo­gan-type judg­ments over three or four days and clear off back to Match of the Day,” Coe said. “But it’s re­ally im­por­tant that we see the long-term devel­op­ment of our sport. That’s not go­ing to be done be­cause we have chal­lenges over tick­et­ing in a sta­dium for three days.

“I’ve got peo­ple whose judge­ment I do trust, who are say­ing it would be great if some great per­for­mances were be­ing dis­sected.

“[The crowd is] an eas­ier sub­ject to talk about rather than the more in­sight­ful stuff around the events.

“We will go on mak­ing sure peo­ple re­alise wher­ever they are in the world this sport is theirs. There are places which are go­ing to take longer for us to go to, but peo­ple have to be­lieve this sport is theirs, it’s not just rooted in a hand­ful of Eu­ro­pean cap­i­tals.”

The BBC de­clined to com­ment, but fel­low pre­sen­ter Gary Lineker leapt to Lo­gan’s de­fence on Twit­ter, post­ing: “Pick­ing the wrong tar­get in @Gab­bylo­gan. She’s just do­ing her job… bril­liantly as al­ways. Maybe look closer to home.”

Coe’s de­ci­sion to hit out at the BBC may be in­flu­enced by an awk­ward episode that took place last Sun­day night, when pun­dit Michael John­son de­scribed the IAAF pres­i­dent as “full of s---”.

John­son was chat­ting to Lo­gan in what they thought was a break in cov­er­age of the World Cham­pi­onships but their mi­cro­phones were still broad­cast­ing on a live satel­lite feed be­ing used by BBC tech­ni­cians and pro­duc­ers.

“Seb, it’s like, you’re either ig­no­rant, naive or full of s---,” said John­son. “And he’s not ig­no­rant or naive – he’s full of s---.”

Lo­gan ap­peared to laugh. Yes­ter­day Coe in­sisted the ath­letes com­pet­ing at these cham­pi­onships have been happy with the de­ci­sion to host them in Qatar.

At­tack: Lord Coe de­fended the IAAF against BBC crit­i­cism of low Doha au­di­ences

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