In Brief

John Inverdale loses Wimbledon job after 'sexist' remarks

BBC sports presenter John Inverdale will be replaced by Clare Balding for this year's tournament

Veteran sports journalist John Inverdale will be replaced by Clare Balding as presenter of Radio 5Live's Wimbledon coverage in the wake of sexist comments he made about last year's winner, Marion Bartoli.

The 56-year-old sports presenter will continue to cover the tournament "in some capacity", but the lead role has been officially handed to Balding, The Sun reports.

Speaking before last year's women's final, won by Bartoli, Inverdale said of the Frenchwoman: "I wonder if her dad did say to her when she was 12, 13, 14, 'Listen, you're never going to be a looker. You're never going to be somebody like a Sharapova, you're never going to be somebody with long legs, so you have to compensate for that'."

The BBC received more than 700 complaints after the broadcast, and the then culture secretary Maria Miller wrote directly to the BBC director-general, Tony Hall, to voice her concerns.

A BBC source told the Sun that Inverdale is being kept on but "it's a real demotion and a clear sign for all male sports commentators to drop sexist language".

The source added: "John's comments were seen as totally unacceptable and the people in charge don't want to take the risk of another incident."

In an interview with the Radio Times this week, Inverdale said that he was suffering from hay fever, and made the comments when he was feeling unwell and struggling to fill time.

He said: "I was feeling so ill that day, I had terrible hay fever and all I could think of was that I wanted to go home to bed. I had Andy Murray in the final the next day, I knew I had to be on form. Your mind is going all over the place, we're on air from 12 noon till 7pm with not a single word written and you've got to fill the time."

Inverdale will be joined by Bartoli, 29, in presenting ITV's coverage of the French Open, which begins on Sunday.

She said: "I'd known John a long time, and I knew what he was trying to say... But the beauty of tennis is that anyone can win — tall or short".

Recommended

Nadal vs. Djokovic vs. Federer: grand slam wins and career records
Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are the ‘big three’ of men’s tennis
Profile

Nadal vs. Djokovic vs. Federer: grand slam wins and career records

Wimbledon 2022: today’s order of play
The Wimbledon women’s and men’s singles trophies on display at Centre Court
In Focus

Wimbledon 2022: today’s order of play

‘Sounds of intimacy’ heard at Wimbledon’s meditation space
A lawn at Wimbledon tennis championships
Tall Tales

‘Sounds of intimacy’ heard at Wimbledon’s meditation space

A guide to the Uefa Women’s Euro 2022
The Uefa Women’s Euro trophy
The big match

A guide to the Uefa Women’s Euro 2022

Popular articles

Are we heading for World War Three?
Ukrainian soldiers patrol on the frontline in Zolote, Ukraine
In Depth

Are we heading for World War Three?

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 6 July 2022
10 Downing Street
Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 6 July 2022

Nato vs. Russia: who would win in a war?
Nato troops
Today’s big question

Nato vs. Russia: who would win in a war?

The Week Footer Banner