Mo Farah 'hurt' by nationality question in Andy Vernon row

By Frank KeoghBBC Sport
Farah and Vernon 'not best friends'

Mo Farah claims Great Britain team-mate Andy Vernon questioned his nationality after the double Olympic champion won European 10,000m gold.

Somalia-born Farah, 31 - who beat his fellow Briton to the 2014 title - said Vernon suggested he did not deserve the win because he was not European.

But Vernon told the BBC this was a "huge, huge misrepresentation".

"All I said, in a complete joking fashion, was that I was European champion," said Vernon, 29.

Vernon said he considers Farah to be British and has called for the pair to "act like men and move on". He says he hopes his team-mate breaks the two-mile record at the Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix on Saturday.

The nationality claims were made by Farah when he was questioned by reporters on Friday about a row the pair had on Twitter earlier in the week.

Farah has apologised but said their past contributed to his frustrations.

The Olympic champion called Vernon "an embarrassment" after he criticised the lack of high-level competition to face Farah in Birmingham.

Andy Vernon and Mo Farah on Twitter

Asked about the pair's history, Farah said: "We were sitting together [after the European 10,000m] and there were a number of staff and athletes there. One comment he made, which I didn't really like, was to say that he should have won the gold.

"I was like, 'What, the gold should have been given to you?' And I was like, because he was the only European guy? You can't say something like that. I was kind of biting my tongue at the time.

"I don't know what he meant but it hurt me."

Vernon rejected the suggestion he had effectively called his team-mate a "plastic Brit" in Zurich.

"All I said in a complete joking fashion when we were all round the table, with a few other people, in good spirits having a laugh and a joke, was that I was European champion," Vernon said.

"Mo laughed at the time. We all laughed about it and carried on the conversation, that was it.

"It was in jest, I meant nothing by it. I'm not sure why exactly Mo has misrepresented it and blown it up a little."

Farah on VernonVernon on Farah
"With an athlete like him, one I've been on the podium with, it was difficult to bite my tongue. Probably the best thing to do at the time was to bite my tongue, but I couldn't do it.""I was the first to congratulate him. My Twitter and Facebook profile pictures are of me and Mo celebrating. He's been an inspiration of mine. It has been misrepresented and it annoys me a little."

Vernon said he was also surprised by Farah's reaction to his initial tweet.

"If I did put the first jab in, he certainly returned with a low haymaker," said the runner from Hampshire.

Farah, who returned from altitude training on Thursday, has said sorry for the row being in the public domain.

"I do apologise. I should never come out publicly and say some things but we have to move on," he said.

"Andy and I are not best friends, we'll never be best friends. That's just how it is."

Vernon said he had tried to contact Farah to clear up what he considers to be a misunderstanding.

"I wanted to smooth it over and say, 'Look Mo, if you had a problem with what I said, I'm very sorry, I meant no offence by it'," he added.

"I don't like having enemies or anything like that. It wouldn't be great for us to go out, say we were on the same team at the world championships, in the same races, and we were avoiding each other. I'd like us to be men and forgive and forget."

In a separate interview with BBC Radio Solent, he called the Farah claims "complete lies" and said his management team had been "very snide at making me out to be the bad guy, and not him."

He added: "I don't think it was Mo that sent the original tweets. He's not that sort of person."

Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix - Saturday
Coverage: 13:00-16:30 GMT, BBC One, BBC Sport website (UK only). Further coverage on BBC Radio 5 live

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