Eurosport’s Olympics coverage has been branded a “shambles” after it accidentally showed a presenter saying she did not want to “go near” cyclists at the centre of a coronavirus scare and a football match was broadcast with boxing and swimming commentary.
The first full day of the broadcasters’ first summer Games as its main UK rights holder was dogged by embarrassing gaffes, one which saw what was meant to be an off-air conversation shown live.
Speaking during its coverage of cycling’s men’s road race, Orla Chennaoui, who was presenting alongside Sir Bradley Wiggins, told colleagues she did not want to interview Spanish riders after a team masseuse tested positive for Covid-19.
She said: “I’d kind of rather not go near Spain, in all honesty. I know they’ve tested negative but…”
She then name-checked Alejandro Valverde, the former world champion and Vuelta a Espana winner, as well as Colombian Sergio Higuita, who was also competing in Saturday’s race.
In a since-deleted Twitter post, Matt Payne, a sports TV producer, wrote: “Eurosport 4K currently making GB News look like pros. Unaware they’re on air for last 5 mins. Slagging off nations they don’t want to interview in case they have covid. Shambles.”
There were also complaints on the social media site about the broadcaster’s coverage of the women’s football.
Anna Phillips wrote: “Trying to watch Sweden Australia on Eurosport 5.. with no commentary, instead they’re playing crackly commentary from a boxing match. PLZ sort it out @Eurosport_UK @EurosportCare.”
She added minutes later: “We’re onto swimming now.”
A Eurosport spokesman said of Chennaoui’s comments: “The fact that these comments went to air is unfortunate. Orla’s comments were made in response to reports of a member of the Spanish cycling team having tested positive within the last 24 hours.
“Our teams are working under exceptional circumstances within a unique environment. We respect their desire to protect their own safety and the safety of others.”
On the commentary problem, he added: “We have been experiencing some technical challenges and we are working to rectify the situation as a matter of urgency.”