BT Sport has been forced to apologise after cutting to an advert break in the middle of a touching tribute from Newcastle United for two fans who died in the MH17 Malaysia Airlines disaster.
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew and captain Fabricio Coloccini were walking up the stand to lay wreaths on the seats of two fans who died in the MH17 tragedy when the broadcasters cut away, prompting fury from viewers.
Subsequently, producers only cut back to the match – in which Newcastle took on Sydney FC - after five adverts for just half of the minute’s silence for John Alder, 63, and Liam Sweeney, 28.
Adverts for Birds Eye, SEAT, Strongbow, McDonald’s and Expedia - as well as a promotional clip for the channel’s coverage of an Arsenal v Manchester City match next month – intervened with awful timing as the tribute was going on.
As a result, furious viewers took to Twitter to register their disgust at the situation, describing BT Sport's coverage as “useless” and a “complete disgrace”.
Great start to the season on @btsport , having adverts half way through the minute silence in the Newcastle game ! Useless
— Craig Bryce (@brycey3011) July 22, 2014
BT cutting off Colo and Pardew paying tribute, going to the minute silence half way through and ignoring the minutes applause. Disgraceful. — Randall Bell (@randallbell) July 22, 2014
Season-ticket holder Daniel Goodall said on Twitter: “BT Sport - well done on cutting to adverts when flowers were getting placed, and managing to miss the majority of the minute’s silence. Disgrace.”
Bill Grieves added: “BT Sport - would have been nice to have shown the full silence for the two Newcastle fans rather than adverts. Fail.”
A BT Sport spokesman has had to say sorry as a result and was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying: “We apologise for any upset caused by a mistimed break during the Newcastle game.
“The timing was unintentional, and we will show the tributes and the minute’s silence in full at the end of the game, as well as put all the footage online.”
BT Sport also responded later by posting a tweet linking a video of coverage of the tribute on its website as a way of making amends for the incident.
— Craig Whitney (@CWhitney7) July 22, 2014
Fair play to BT sports, showing the minute silence now, better late than never. Impeccably observed too. — Kris Park (@Kris_Newcastle) July 22, 2014
Pardew announced that the club’s upcoming season would be dedicated to the two fans who died on the Malaysia Airlines flight.
He said: “None of us would be sitting here without the fans. Owners and managers come and go, as do players, but the fans are always there, and these two guys in particular, to go to the lengths that they did to get out here, has brought home just how important supporters are to us.
“Sometimes when you lose lives in that manner, it puts into context what we do. This season we want to give their families something to remember them by, by having a successful season.”
In all, 10 Brits were among 298 people killed on board the Malaysian Airlines flight disaster.
- Sports & Recreation
- Newcastle United
- BT Sport
- Malaysia Airlines