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Gary Lineker to return to BBC screens for FA Cup coverage after Twitter row



Lineker’s absence from Match of the Day is unrelated to social media row

Gary Lineker won’t be on his normal Match of the Day slot tonight, despite working things out with BBC bosses following a row over his social media. Lineker was asked to step back from hosting the Saturday night sports show in a row over impartiality.

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Lineker was taken off air last week for a tweet comparing the language used to launch a new Government asylum seeker policy with 1930s Germany. Viewers of the show may have been expecting to see the 62-year-old return to his regular Saturday night slow tonight after the row was resolved, however that won’t be the case after all.

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His absence is unrelated to the drama over Twitter, and was already pre-planned. Instead, fans will be able to find Lineker’s return to BBC One earlier on in the day, as he takes part in the BBC’s Match of the Day live FA Cup coverage of Manchester City and Burnley. You can get more TV news and other story updates straight to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletters here.

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Lineker joins BBC’s FA Cup coverage

The former England player will be joined in the BBC studio at the Etihad Stadium by Micah Richards and Alan Shearer from 5.25pm. Mark Chapman will host the Match of the Day highlights show at 10.30pm on Saturday, alongside former Wales player Ashley Williams.

Many of Lineker’s BBC Sport colleagues walked out in “solidarity” last weekend, with highlight shows significantly shorter than usual and aired without presentation or commentary. Match Of The Day aired for only 20 minutes last Saturday without accompanying commentary or analysis from presenters, with Sunday’s edition following a similar format and running for just 15 minutes.

Independent review of BBC’s social media guidelines commissioned

BBC director-general Tim Davie said in a statement the corporation had commissioned an independent review of its social media guidelines, particularly for freelancers. He apologised for what he acknowledged had been “a difficult period for staff, contributors, presenters and, most importantly, our audiences” and described the BBC’s commitment to freedom of expression and impartiality as a “difficult balancing act”.

He added: “The potential confusion caused by the grey areas of the BBC’s social media guidance that was introduced in 2020 is recognised. I want to get matters resolved and our sport content back on air.”

Lineker delighted to return to MOTD slot

After the official BBC statement was published, Lineker tweeted that he was “delighted” to have navigated a way through the row after a “surreal few days”. He said: “I have been presenting sport on the BBC for almost three decades and am immeasurably proud to work with the best and fairest broadcaster in the world.

“I cannot wait to get back in the MOTD chair on Saturday.”



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