Vernon hits back at Farah ‘feud’ claims

Andy Vernon and Mo Farah in 5,000m action at last year's European Championships
Andy Vernon and Mo Farah in 5,000m action at last year's European Championships
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ANDY VERNON has hit back at suggestions he has re-opened a feud with Mo Farah.

The Fareham athlete was embroiled in a Twitter spat with the double Olympic champion earlier this year and was asked for his considered opinion in the wake of last week’s Panorama documentary.

I was backing his decision more than anything

Andy Vernon

The BBC-led investigation alleged that Farah’s coach, Alberto Salazar, and training partner Galen Rupp had been involved in doping violations and Vernon suggested that it did not reflect well on his Great Britain team-mate.

The former Stubbington Green Runners ace also understood why Farah opted to miss Sunday’s Birmingham Grand Prix – so was surprised to see headlines suggesting he had ‘slammed’ the decision.

‘It’s not really anything to do with me but people have asked my opinion on it,’ said Vernon.

‘I have tried to choose my words wisely and be as forgiving as possible about the situation.

‘I don’t want to tar all journalists with the same brush but sometimes they will add a bad headline to suggest I was criticising Mo.

‘But I was backing his decision more than anything.

‘Next time I might just say “no, I don’t want to do an interview”.

‘It wasn’t my argument but a lot of people want my opinion so what am I supposed to do?

‘I haven’t reopened any feud – people are asking me questions about it.

‘Someone on Twitter accused me of cashing in on the situation. I’m certainly not getting paid anything.

‘And it’s not like I am going out of my way to have my say on it.’

There are no allegations aimed at Farah or suggestions of any wrongdoing on his part.

But his name has been caught up in the scandal because of his place in the Nike Oregon Project, where Salazar is the head coach.

And Vernon understands why Farah pulled out of the Diamond League fixture.

‘I can completely understand why he pulled out,’ he said.

‘It wasn’t just the Panorama stuff – he raced a 10k last week and sometimes it can take a bit longer to recover from that than you think.

‘With all the press frenzy, it takes it out of you and I can understand why he didn’t run.

‘I don’t know whether there would have been boos from the crowd if he had gone out and run.

‘I think he probably would have got a really good reception.’

Vernon admits he does not anticipate a renewed close friendship with his rival.

But he hopes the duo can reach a level of mutual respect when they are both representing Great Britain in the World Championships later this summer.

Vernon added: ‘I was hoping all that stuff was done and dusted to be honest.

‘Whether Mo and I are friends or not, that is neither here nor there.

‘We can stay out of each other’s way – that’s fine.

‘But I don’t want him or other people thinking that I want to carry on the argument and for it to go through the summer to the World Championships.

‘I would rather it is forgotten about.

‘We probably won’t be the best of friends again but I’m happy to leave it how it is.’