BBC News apologises for showing image of wrong footballer in rape arrest report | UK news

BBC News has issued an on-air apology after mistakenly showing a picture of the footballer Raheem Sterling when reporting on a case about another Premier League player arrested over alleged sexual offences.

An image of the England international, believed to have been used on an unrelated earlier story about his recent transfer from Manchester City to Chelsea, was shown behind the sports presenter Mike Bushell during an update on the arrest during the Thursday morning sports bulletin on the BBC News channel.

Another presenter later explained the mistake was due to a “technical error” and emphasised that Sterling, 27, is “wholly unconnected” with the allegations.

The BBC said: “In our sports bulletin earlier, owing to a technical error the wrong picture appeared in connection with a story of a Premier League player arrested over alleged sexual offences.

“A picture of a different and wholly unconnected player was shown. We apologise for that mistake.”

The BBC said the apology would be repeated in the next sports bulletin on the channel.

The report was in reference to a player, who has not been named by police, who was arrested in Barnet, north London, on 4 July over rape allegations against a woman in her 20s in June. He was further arrested while in custody over allegations of raping a different woman in April and June 2021.

The 29-year-old denies the allegations and has been bailed until August.

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On Wednesday, a Premier League club, which has also not been named, confirmed it is not currently taking action against the player.

Sterling completed his move to Chelsea in a deal worth £47.5m and has signed a five-year contract at Stamford Bridge with the option of a further 12 months.

He becomes the first men’s signing since a consortium led by American businessman Todd Boehly took over the club, which brought Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich’s 19-year tenure to an end.

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