Mo Farah’s Olympic hopes could be hit by I’m a Celebrity, says UKA chief

Mo Farah’s Olympic hopes could be hit by I’m a Celebrity, says UKA chief

Mo Farah’s rumoured appearance on I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! next month could affect his chances of defending his 10,000m Olympic title, the chief executive of UK Athletics has warned.

Reports have suggested Farah has accepted a £300,000 fee to appear in the ITV reality show. But there are concerns in the UKA hierarchy that spending two weeks in quarantine, and then potentially another three in camp in the ruins of Gwrych castle in north Wales, could be detrimental to his Tokyo preparations.

“It’s a knife-edge decision,” the UKA chief executive, Jo Coates, said. “For me as a marketer, to have athletes in mainstream TV shows is just perfection. We worked so hard to get netballers into these shows. However – and a big however – you would never want to do that to the detriment of performance.

“Part of our communications strategy is about reaching a new audience. That’s what we have to do. And shows like that take our athletes to a completely different audience …but I would never condone it to the detriment of performance because ultimately that’s what they do.”

Coates, meanwhile, has confirmed the London and Gateshead Diamond League meetings will be in the provisional 2021 schedule that is published on Saturday.

“We can’t set anything in stone because of Covid,” she said. “But in July we really want to put the London one on and with everything we are hearing we should be able to. But if anything happens and it means we can’t sell tickets for Gateshead, we cannot take a financial loss on that. We’ve said to the Diamond League to keep those two there but they absolutely know we cannot take major losses.”