BBC Sport commentator David Oates dies

5 Live colleagues mourn sudden passing of 50-year-old football and rugby league expert

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The BBC Radio 5 Live commentator David Oates has died at the age of 50, after a short illness.


A BBC journalist for more than 25 years, Oates’s voice was well known to football fans for his regular commentary and reporting on 5 Live. He was also a noted expert on rugby league. He covered three football World Cups and three Rugby League World Cups for the BBC.

In 2012, his most prominent work was as the 5 Live commentator on duty when Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch in March – and, for television, as the man who described marksman Peter Wilson taking Olympic gold.

Oates’s 5 Live colleagues Mike Ingham, Alan Green and Ian Payne paid an emotional tribute to him on the station this afternoon:

“No-one ever had a bad word to say about David,” said acting 5 Live controller Jonathan Wall. “I will remember the quality of his commentary as the Muamba story unfolded, his great skill as rugby league commentator, but most of all his love of Blackpool FC and the Blackpool songs he used to sing in the office.”


Oates is survived by his wife Charlotte Nicol, a BBC Sport producer, and their two children.