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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 December, 2003, 09:34 GMT
BBC defends Campese role
David Campese eats humble pie in London's Oxford Street
The BBC has hit back at criticism for choosing David Campese to present England with the team award at the Sports Personality of the Year show.

England coach Clive Woodward said he felt the decision to use the ex-Australia star was "crass" and "a bad error of judgement".

But the BBC insisted "no offence was intended" by Campese's involvement.

Campese has long been a harsh critic of English rugby, but was complimentary during England's World Cup triumph.

However, Woodward argued: "To pick a guy that has little or no respect in the world of international rugby was a crass decision.

"Princess Anne, Sir Bobby Charlton, Sir Steve Redgrave and George Cohen were all there and would have been a wonderful choice for presenting the award."

Philip Bernie, editor of the Sports Personality of the Year show, explained that Campese was asked to present the award because he has been critical of England in the past.

It was amazingly satisfying to have Campese, of all people, present us with the award
Josh Lewsey
England World Cup winner

"Campese, England's greatest critic, has had to admit that England are the greatest team at the moment," Bernie told BBC Radio Five Live.

"He has had to eat humble pie and we thought that would embellish the strength of England's achievement."

That view was echoed by England full-back Josh Lewsey, who told Metro: "It was amazingly satisfying to have Campese, of all people, present us with the award."

But scrum-half Matt Dawson told BBC Radio Five Live: "From a personal point of view, I would have liked to have received the award from one of the British sporting legends that were there that night.

"I can understand the reasons behind using Campese, but why should the team have been presented the award from someone that we don't really care about?"

On Monday, Campese walked along London's Oxford Street with a sandwich board, making light of his prediction England would not win the World Cup.

Referring to the tongue-in-cheek stunt, the corporation added: "Peter Salmon, BBC's Director of Sport, has offered to walk round Twickenham wearing a sandwich board apologising for any offence caused."

Links to more Sports Personality stories


England's award
Watch Campese present the trophy

Sports Review of the Year editor Philip Bernie
"We were pointing out that David Campese has had to eat humble pie"

Rugby stars win team award
14 Dec 03  |  Sports Personality


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