World of Sport

Did the BBC cost Istanbul the 2020 Olympics?

World of Sport

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The BBC has been accused of 'costing' Istanbul the right to host the 2020 Olympics in what has been described as a "tragedy".

Advertising tycoon Sir Martin Sorrell, who was heavily involved in the Istanbul bid, blamed the BBC's "unfair" coverage on Turkey's failure in the bidding process.

Sorrell told the Leaders in Football conference that it was a "tragedy" that Turkey was passed over.

The 68-year-old claimed that the BBC's portrayal of the Taksim Square clashes in July between riot police and anti-government protesters was responsible.

He argues that the BBC, who were famously accused of 'derailing' England's sorry 2018 World Cup bid, had influenced the IOC vote in Buenos Aires that went in Tokyo's favour.

Sorrell accused the corporation of being "unfair" on Turkey by "over-egging" the demonstrations in Istanbul, also suggesting that broadcasts by CNN had damaged their chances.

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Sir Martin Sorrell

A BBC spokesman said: "The Istanbul protests were a significant news story. We are satisfied our coverage was accurate and impartial."

The BBC were accused of scheduling a Panorama programme about FIFA corruption the week before the Zurich vote in the lead up to England's ill-fated 2018 World Cup bid.

It was a horrible evening for Istanbul officials as Tokyo was awarded the right to the Games, compounded by a moment of confusion triggering premature celebrations among Turkish supporters who mistakenly thought they had won.

Dozens of Turkish journalists began cheering and congratulating each other in the media centre outside the hotel where the vote was taking place, only to realise they had got it wrong.

The mix-up happened after the first of two rounds of voting between the three candidates, Tokyo, Istanbul and Madrid.

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