Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 21 May 2019

Explainer: Why Mo Farah and Haile Gebrselassie have fallen out ahead of London Marathon

Breaking down the row, which includes claims of a hotel robbery and an alleged fight in a gym

Mo Farah's preparations for the London Marathon have been overshadowed by a row with Haile Gebrselassie. Action Images via Reuters
Mo Farah's preparations for the London Marathon have been overshadowed by a row with Haile Gebrselassie. Action Images via Reuters

The war of words between Sir Mo Farah and Haile Gebrselassie showed no signs of slowing down as further allegations were traded.

The pair's extraordinary fall-out comes amid claims and counter-claims that Farah "punched and kicked" a husband and wife during a stay at Gebrselassie's hotel.

Gebrselassie has gone on to claim Farah has a "grudge" against him after refusing to let a coach stay with him at the Yaya Village Resort.

How it started

The row started when Farah, speaking to reporters on Wednesday ahead of Sunday's London Marathon, criticised Gebrselassie over an alleged robbery in the hotel owned by the retired Ethiopian in which he said he had a watch, two phones and money stolen.

The alleged assault

Gebrselassie responded and said Farah had an altercation with the couple in the gym, to which Farah's coach, Gary Lough, admitted but said his man had been the victim of.

Ethiopian Sisay Tsegaye then told The Telegraph he and his wife were involved, but that Farah did not strike his wife and that he and the Briton were now "on good terms" after Farah had suspected him of copying his training regime.

Farah's denial

Farah has denied all allegations of wrongdoing, with Gebrselassie returning to claim Farah has held a grudge because he refused to allow Jama Aden stay at his hotel.

Aden was arrested in June 2016 as part of an anti-doping investigation but denies wrongdoing, and Farah's camp have always insisted he has never received any sort of coaching from Aden.

The grudge

Speaking on Thursday, Gebrselassie told The Telegraph: "His grudge against me started when I denied access to Jama Aden to the hotel. I was head of the Ethiopian Athletics Federation at the time. He was angry with me at the time... and looking for ways to revenge for that."

Farah's representatives have been contacted about the fresh claims though a statement given to the Daily Mail described the allegations as "utter nonsense".

'Mistruths and exaggerations'

The row has overshadowed the build-up to Sunday's London Marathon and coach Lough says Gebrselassie has told lies about his man - namely telling the Guardian that he "punched and kicked" the married couple.

Lough, who was with Farah at the time of the incident, told the Evening Standard: "Haile's been exposed for what he is and he's fighting with low blows and lies. It's mistruths and exaggerations.

"I'm doing an exercise, I turn round and this guy comes over threateningly as if he's going to attack Abi Bashir (Farah's training partner) and Mo tries to defend Bashir and hits the other guy.

"So, they're grappling a little bit and the woman comes running and Mo turns round not knowing who it is and she got hit on the arm. She had two 5kg weights in her hands and was threatening to throw them at him."

The robbery

The row came to light when Farah claimed on Wednesday he had £2,600 in cash in four currencies stolen, as well as a TAG watch and two mobile phones at Gebrselassie's hotel.

A spokesperson for Farah has claimed the subsequent allegations are a deflection tactic from Gebrselassie.

Farah is preparing to run in London. In a statement, the spokesperson said: "Mo is disappointed with this statement and the continued reluctance by the hotel and its owner to take responsibility for this robbery.

"Mo disputes all of these claims which are an effort to distract from the situation, where members of his hotel staff used a room key and stole money and items from Mo Farah's room (there was no safe as it was faulty, and Mo requested a new one).

"Police reports confirm the incident and the hotel admitted responsibility and were in contact with Mo's legal advisor.

"The hotel even offered to pay Mo the amount stolen, only to withdraw the offer when he prematurely left the hotel and moved to other accommodation, due to security concerns.

"Despite many attempts to discuss this issue privately with Mr Gebrselassie, he did not respond but now that he has, we would welcome him or his legal team getting in touch so that this matter can be resolved."

Gebrselassie claimed that Farah declined the use of a safety deposit box and said five members of hotel staff had been detained by police investigating the "unproven" robbery for three weeks before being released.

The London Marathon

The row has taken the attention away from the race on Sunday as Farah bids to win London for the first time.

He won his first event over the distance in Chicago last October. The Briton retired from track running, after an elite career, that saw him win four Olympic gold medals, but is reportedly considering a return to track this year.

The race in England's capital starts at 1pm UK time.

Updated: April 26, 2019 01:14 PM

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