Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has criticised the BBC over the footage of Danish footballer Christian Eriksen’s collapse and resuscitation that was shown during Saturday night’s Euro 2020 game.
Over the weekend, the BBC faced a backlash after many felt they did not cut away from UEFA’s live feed – including footage of Eriksen’s distressed partner Sabrina Kvist Jensen as he received treatment from medics – quickly enough.
Asked about the scene during an interview with LBC on Monday, Starmer said: “I watched this live and it was awful. There are those rare occasions where you know it’s serious from the start – the players’ expressions who are on the pitch, the fans’ expression – it becomes very sombre very, very quickly.
“I really feared the worst. I thought I was watching something no football fan ever, ever wants to watch.”
Turning his attention to the BBC, the opposition leader continued: “I thought they could have cut away sooner and I think his partner came onto the pitch at one point and I don’t know why they had the cameras on her at all.
“They could have cut early, they should have cut out and I don’t think they… they certainly shouldn’t have shown his partner – I mean how distressing is that?”
The BBC apologised on Saturday, insisting they “took our coverage off air as quickly as possible”.
In a statement, a BBC spokesperson said: “Everyone at the BBC is hoping Christian Eriksen makes a full recovery.
“We apologise to anyone who was upset by the images broadcast. In stadium coverage is controlled by Uefa as the host broadcaster, and as soon as the match was suspended, we took our coverage off air as quickly as possible.”
After the incident, the BBC’s in-studio presenter Gary Lineker tweeted: “I understand some of you would have been upset with some of the images shown (we were too). Obviously these were the host pictures and out of our control.
“They should have stayed on a wide [shot] of the stadium. Apologies.”
He later added: “In 25 years of doing this job, that was the most difficult, distressing and emotional broadcast I’ve ever been involved with.
“Thanks to [fellow pundits Cesc Fàbregas, Alex Scott and Micah Richards] for your professionalism, warmth and empathy. Get well soon, Christian Eriksen.”
Christian Eriksen has since released his first public statement since suffering a cardiac arrest during Denmark’s Euro 2020 game with Finland, insisting he “feels better” and “won’t give up”.
In a statement, he said: “Thank you, I won’t give up. I feel better now - but I want to understand what’s happened. I want to say thank you all for what you did for me.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.