BBC's Eriksen cardiac arrest coverage prompt 6,417 complaints

BBC’s Christian Eriksen cardiac arrest coverage prompt 6,417 complaints after ‘intrusive’ live footage showed Denmark star’s medical treatment and his wife crying and fearing he was dead following collapse on the pitch

  • Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch during Finland match 
  • The BBC were widely criticised for showing Eriksen received CPR on the pitch
  • The broadcaster issued an apology at the time and received 6.417 complaints
  • Eriksen, 29, has since been fitted with an ICD and been discharged from hospital 
  • Find out the latest Euro 2020 news including fixtures, live action and results here

The BBC have received 6,417 complaints for their ‘intrusive’ live footage of Christian Eriksen getting emergency CPR after he suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch during Denmark’s opening Euro 2020 game against Finland.

Cameras showed medics desperately trying to stabilise Eriksen, who has since been discharged from hospital, while his crying team-mates formed a protective ring around him. 

The BBC continued to broadcast the distressing scenes and also showed the player’s wife Sabrina Kvist Jensen in tears on the sidelines and needing to be comforted by Eriksen’s team-mates before cutting to the studio.

The broadcaster were widely criticised for their handling of the situation and said the stadium coverage was controlled by UEFA before later issuing an apology for any upset caused to viewers.  

The BBC said viewers had complained about its coverage showing ‘intrusive footage of the player receiving emergency medical attention’ while others described it as ‘unacceptable’ and accused the broadcaster of ‘traumatising an entire nation’. 

Eriksen, 29, suddenly collapsed on the pitch towards the end of the first half of Denmark’s game with Finland, leaving team-mates, opposition players and fans in tears.

The BBC received 6,417 complaints for showing Christian Eriksen received emergency CPR

The Denmark midfielder, who has since been discharged from hospital, suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch against Finland and has now been fitted with a heart-starter

In a statement at the time, the BBC said: ‘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.’

Presenter Gary Lineker described the incident as ‘the most difficult, distressing and emotional broadcast I’ve ever been involved with’.

He later 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 of the stadium. Apologies.’

Lineker’s fellow BBC pundit Ian Wright, also slammed the broadcaster, writing on Twitter at the time: ‘CUT TO THE STUDIO FFS!!!!’

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was among those suggesting the BBC should have cut away from the stadium coverage sooner while ex-Premier League striker Jermaine Beckford and former world heavyweight boxing champion Frank Bruno also publicly criticised them.

Eriksen needed 13 minutes of CPR before he was stabilised by emergency medics on hand

The BBC also showed Eriksen’s partner Sabrina Kvist Jensen in tears and being comforted by his Denmark team-mates on the sidelines

The 6,417 complaints is significantly less than the BBC have received in the past for their coverage of other incidents. 

Earlier this year, they had 109,741 complaints from the public over its coverage of the Duke of Edinburgh’s death – making it the most complained-about programme in the corporation’s history. 

After being rushed off to hospital, it was later revealed that Eriksen needed 13 minutes of CPR and had suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch. 

The Denmark midfielder spent six days in hospital before being discharged last week and has been fitted with a implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) to regulate his heart’s rhythm. 

In his most recent public statement, Eriksen said: ‘Thank you for the massive number of greetings – it has been incredible to see and feel. 

Many at the time questioned why the BBC failed to cut back to the studio sooner than they eventually did

‘The operation went well, and I am doing really well under the circumstances.

‘It was really great to see the guys again after the fantastic game they played last night. No need to say, that I will be cheering on them on Monday against Russia.’

Denmark have since qualified for the last-16 of Euro 2020 where they will meet Wales on Saturday in Amsterdam.

Eriksen texted his team-mates to congratulate them after their 4-1 victory Russia sealed their place in the next round while his former Tottenham team-mate Ben Davies revealed he has warned him and the rest of the Wales team will be ‘in for a tough one on Saturday.’ 

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