The BBC has been slammed for giving out hundreds of free Wimbledon passes to sports executives and its own employees – as fans queued overnight in sweltering heat for the coveted tickets.
A total of 414 free passes were given out, with beneficiaries including the owner of Avalon entertainment Jon Thoday and ex-BBC host Des Lynam.
Mr Thoday, who is worth around £30million, received free all-access first day passes.
Hundreds of Tennis fans queue in the scorching heat on manic monday for tickets on round four of the Wimbledon tennis championships
While the ex-Grandstand and Wimbledon presenter, who is worth about £3million, got an all-access ticket for day nine of the championship,The Sun reported.
Other lucky recipients included a partner at Deloitte, Premier League football club marketing chiefs and FA bosses.
The revelation attracted criticism from Tory MP Andrew Bridgen, who described it as ‘another example of the BBC’s rampant self-interest’.
He called for the passes to be given to vulnerable and disabled children instead.
Other lucky recipients included a partner at Deloitte, Premier League football club marketing chiefs and FA bosses. Pictured: Fans queuing in the scorching heat for tickets of round four of the Wimbledon championships
A total of 414 free passes were given out, with beneficiaries including the owner of Avalon entertainment Jon Thoday and ex-BBC host Des Lynam (pictured)
The revelation attracted criticism from Tory MP Andrew Bridgen, who described it as ‘another example of the BBC’s rampant self-interest’
A BBC spokesman said: ‘As is standard practice, the BBC uses some of its complimentary tickets for business purposes – at no cost to the licence-fee payer.
‘They are given to partners with whom BBC Sport works, as an opportunity to discuss further business, and to demonstrate first-hand one of the biggest event BBC Sport delivers.’
A spokeswoman for Des Lynam told MailOnline: ‘As a former presenter of the BBC’s television and radio coverage of Wimbledon for many years, Des was invited by the Chief Executive of the AELTC and the Director General of the BBC to a reception to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the relationship between Wimbledon and the BBC.
‘After lunch, the guests were invited to watch some tennis.’
MailOnline has also contacted Avalon Entertainment for comment.
The news follows revelations that John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, was given two tickets to watch the women’s semi-finals in the Royal Box.
It gave him one of the best seats in the house to watch Britain’s top player Johanna Konta get beaten by Venus Williams.
The tickets, which were given to the Tory MP for free by the All England Lawn Tennis Club, were worth £8,590, according to the MPs’ register of interests.
The Royal Box is the most exclusive part of seating in the court and is reserved for royals from Britain and visiting from abroad, heads of government, top military brass and other high profile figures.
A spokeswoman for Mr Bercow said at the time: ‘It is no secret that Mr Bercow is a keen tennis fan, and watches matches live if he has the opportunity.
‘The value of any associated hospitality is declared, in full, to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, in strict accordance with the rules.’
Labour deputy leader Tom Watson also got two cheaper tickets for the tournament, with the party saying he was given the tickets in his capacity as shadow sport secretary.