Athletics chief Seb Coe slams BBC presenter Gabby Logan as row over awful attendances in Doha escalates

LORD SEB COE has slammed BBC presenter Gabby Logan for making “judgements” about poor crowds at the IAAF World Championships in Doha.

The unhappy IAAF president claims the sport was wrongly being portrayed on TV by people like Logan in the BBC studio, who then “clear off back to Match of the Day”.

 Lord Seb Coe has slammed pundits like Gabby Logan for their Doha comments


Lord Seb Coe has slammed pundits like Gabby Logan for their Doha comments

The first three days of the event at the Khalifa International Stadium were dominated by low attendances – particularly the empty seats when the men’s and women’s 100m world champions were crowned.

The crowds have improved in recent days but some of them are military personnel bussed in from around Qatar and there is not the same level of interest in the sport as there was at the London 2017 world championships.

It was a surprise for Coe, 63, a former Tory politician, to react like this but he had clearly felt the need to express his unhappiness with the editorial judgement of the BBC.

He said: “It’s very easy to sit there and make all sorts of Gabby Logan-type judgements over three or four days and clear off back to Match of the Day.

“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.

“The problem I’ve got with that is it’s the way our sport is being portrayed by some of the people in that (BBC) studio.

“I’ve got people, whose judgement I do trust who are saying it would be great if a one minute 42.4 second run and some great performances were being dissected.

“It’s (the crowd) an easier subject to talk about rather than some of the more insightful stuff around the events. I accept that, that’s the world we live in.

“We’re not heading for home on this, 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.”


Gary Lineker, the presenter of Match of the Day, leapt to the defence of established TV colleague Logan, 46, who has covered athletics for several years and also broadcasts on football and rugby union.

The former footballer tweeted: “Picking the wrong target in @GabbyLogan. She’s just doing her job…brilliantly as always.

“Maybe look closer to home.”

France’s world champion decathlete Kevin Mayer has led athlete criticism of the Doha championships, calling the decision to host them in this Arab country as a disaster.

But Coe responded: “I get to the stadium an hour before the event, I sit with the medical teams, I sit with the coaches.

“I went to every one of the finalists from the 800m and chatted to them an hour-and-a-half before they needed to get into there.

“I was on the indoor, the outdoor track, they are not talking about that (the crowds).

“Can I just be a bit blunt about this, the athletes talking about externalities are probably not the ones who are going to be walking home with medals from here. Go figure.”

The BBC declined to comment after being contacted by SunSport.

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