Coe attacks Logan in tirade against negative coverage
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