‘This is my country’ – Sir Mo Farah ‘relieved’ Home Office will take no action
Sir Mo Farah says he is “relieved” the Home Office has no plans to take action against him, after making the shock revelation that he was brought to the UK illegally as a child.
The four-time Olympic champion, 39, said there were a lot of people he “owed my life to” and that had given him the “strength” to talk about his past.
Farah revealed in a BBC documentary titled The Real Mo Farah how he was brought to Britain from Somalia illegally, having assumed the name of another child, after his father was killed in the civil war.
He was later helped to obtain UK citizenship by his school PE teacher Alan Watkinson, while still using the name Mohamed Farah.
The UK Home Office has the power to legally strip individuals of their British citizenship if it is found to have been obtained illegally.
But the department has said that it would be taking no action “whatsoever” against the athlete.
A Number 10 spokesman said of the Olympic champion: “He is a sporting hero, he is an inspiration to people across the country.
“It is a shocking reminder of the horrors that people face when they are trafficked. And we must continue to clamp down on these criminals who take advantage of vulnerable people.”
Asked if the Home Office would be taking any action against Farah, he said: “Absolutely not.
“I think the Home Office has been very clear that no action whatsoever will be taken against Sir Mo and that is in line with the guidance.”
Asked during a BBC interview how he felt about the Government’s response, Farah said “I feel relieved”.
“This is my country, if it wasn’t for Alan (Watkinson) and the people that supported me throughout my childhood then maybe I wouldn’t even have the courage to be doing this.
“There’s a lot of people that have been very supportive, particularly my wife, throughout my career and gave me the strength to come and talk about it and telling me it’s ok to do this.”
It comes after the Metropolitan Police said it was “assessing” Farah’s allegations that he was trafficked into the UK as a child and forced to work as a domestic servant.
The Met Police said in a statement: “We are aware of reports in the media concerning Sir Mo Farah.
“No reports have been made to the MPS (the Metropolitan Police Service) at this time.
“Specialist officers are currently assessing the available information.”
Figures from the world of politics have praised Farah as “truly inspirational” and a “great Briton” after he revealed he was trafficked into the UK as a child.
Tory leadership hopeful Nadhim Zahawi praised Farah as a “truly inspirational” role model after the revelations and reflected on his own experiences of “fleeing” from Iraq as I child. Similarly, London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted his support for the Olympian.
“Everything Sir Mo has survived proves he’s not only one of our greatest Olympians but a truly great Briton,” he said.
Following the shock announcement, Farah said he is “really proud” of the documentary, which enabled him to “address and learn more” about his past and his journey to Britain.
The Real Mo Farah will air at 6am on BBC iPlayer and 9pm on BBC One on July 13.