Sir Keir Starmer has criticised the BBC for continuing to broadcast as Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen received emergency treatment during his country’s Euro 2020 game against Finland.
The midfielder dropped to the ground at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen shortly before half-time, leaving players from both teams in clear distress.
Cameras showed medics desperately trying to stabilise the former Tottenham player, as his teammates formed a protective circle around where he lay on the pitch.
The coverage also showed Eriksen’s distraught partner Sabrina Kvist Jensen, with whom the midfielder has two children, being consoled on the sidelines by other Denmark players and team officials while the player received treatment.
The BBC has apologised following complaints, and said the footage is controlled by Uefa.
Speaking on LBC, Labour leader Sir Keir said: “I watched this live and it was awful.”
He continued: “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.
“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.”
He added: “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?”
A statement from the BBC 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.”
Former Tottenham striker Gary Lineker, who anchored the BBC’s studio coverage of the Denmark v Finland match, described the incident as “the most difficult, distressing and emotional broadcast I’ve ever been involved with”.
The first-round match in Copenhagen was suspended, before resuming some two hours later after Eriksen was said to be in a stable condition.