Gary Neville criticized BT Sport for covering Saturday’s Champions League final and lack of live coverage amid the chaos outside the stadium, prompting presenter Jake Humphrey to react
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BT Sport chief presenter Jake Humphrey has responded to Gary Neville’s criticism of the coverage of the Champions League final.
The Manchester United legend, who works for rival network Sky Sports, slammed the broadcaster for not having a reporter live on location as Liverpool fans were tear-gassed, stranded in queues for hours and attacked by riot police before their team gave up the air 0:1 against Real Madrid.
While the game has been postponed three times due to issues with counterfeit tickets – at least according to UEFA’s second statement after initially blaming “the late arrival of the fans” – Neville quoted a tweet as saying: “Surprised BT Sport don’t have any Team on standby outside the stadium and getting little to no sense of the channel’s big story.” The ex-England international then remarked: “Are you surprised? Not me. They can’t react or aren’t agile when things like this happen.”
Humphrey, who hosted BT’s five-hour show, took to his LinkedIn page to share his team’s page in response to Neville. “Possibly one of the toughest sporting events I’ve ever covered. And I’ve done some tricky ones,” the former face of Formula 1 wrote to more than 50,000 followers on the BBC.
“We had limited information about what was going on outside, my talkback (the umbilical cord to my production crew) suddenly stopped working, the TV campus was affected by tear gas, so our production crew was barricaded in their trucks. And a lot of us had friends and family at the game and we had no idea if they were even safe.
“And amidst all that, we did our best to get the tone right, under the scrutiny that appears to be exclusive to live football. Hopefully you wouldn’t have known too much about all this, the BT Sport production team is up there with the best I’ve ever worked with.”
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Neville continued to criticize the lack of coverage, retweeting and liking a plethora of scathing posts. “It’s fair to say BT Sport and their lightweight team are completely unfit to cover an event like this who are still chatting with Football 5 Live about what’s really happening,” the Sky pundit shared on his Twitter account .
Another tweet he appeared to endorse read: “You would have thought BT had enough cameras to send someone outside and film the carnage to let viewers know. Chatting with experts and waiting for an opening ceremony is reminiscent of the muted TV coverage leading up to the Euro 2020 final amid the chaos outside.”