Former BBC head of sport Roger Mosey has criticised the Corporation for unfairly targeting the department for cuts.
Mosey – who left the BBC to become Master of Selwyn College, Cambridge, in October 2013 – says sport has unfairly born the brunt of cost cutting.
And he found support from another former BBC executive, Dave Gordon, who was head of major events for Sport.
Mosey told the Radio Times: “The loss of Formula One on TV and the slashing of BBC3’s budget are hitting the same younger audiences.
“The affluent heartland audiences are protected, and the arts world indulged, while sport is raided.”
— Dave Gordon (@DaveGordonSport) March 7, 2016
Mosey said BBC Sport, which is based in Salford, had shown itself willing to save money “only for the bean counters to come back with a raid on tens of millions pounds more of the budget”.
He said he was alarmed by reports – strenuously denied by the BBC – that 5 Live could become an online-only service.
“It will compound the problem if 5 Live is next in line for emasculation,” he added.
“It seems to be part of a pattern. 5 Live matters because it remains the BBC’s home of live sport and as the television portfolio ebbs away, that becomes more rather than less important.
“You can buy a whole season of live audio Premier League commentaries for significantly less than the price of a single match on Sky TV.”
Gordon, who is now a sports broadcasting consultant, tweeted: “Spot-on @rogermosey Shameful that BBC senior management ignoring sport now. So much for 2012 legacy!”
A BBC spokesperson said: “Everyone knows the BBC faces a significant financial challenge.
“There has already been plenty of speculation about how we can save money and best meet the needs of our audience, and there will no doubt be plenty more, but we’re proud so many people share our passion for 5 Live’s brilliant news and sports coverage.”