Gary Lineker won’t be hosting Match of the Day despite reinstatement, BBC confirms
Last weekend, BBC sports programming suffered a crisis when presenter Gary Lineker was temporarily removed from hosting Match of the Day due to BBC’s row over his criticism of government policy on asylum-seekers. This led to the withdrawal of labor of other presenters, pundits, and commentators as a sign of solidarity.
The former England player was reinstated, but Lineker will not be hosting the highlights show of Match of the Day on the following Saturday night. However, he will still be appearing on BBC One on Saturday afternoon. The BBC’s Match of the Day Live FA Cup coverage of Saturday’s quarter-final was already scheduled for Lineker.
The presenters on Match of the Day Live FA Cup Coverage
Lineker joined Micah Richards and Alan Shearer in the BBC studio at the Etihad Stadium from 5:25 pm on Saturday. Meanwhile, Mark Chapman brought the Match of the Day highlights, doing so with the help of former Wales player Ashley Williams.
BBC Director-General’s apology
After Lineker’s reinstatement, BBC’s Director-General, Tim Davie, apologized for the trouble caused by the row and stated that he acknowledges “the potential confusion caused by the grey areas of the BBC’s social media guidance.” Davie stated that the presenter “will abide by the editorial guidelines” until an independent review of the BBC’s social media policy is complete.
BBC’s guidance expects high-profile stars to “avoid taking sides on party-political issues.” Lineker is a freelancer and not bounded by the same impartiality rules as staff journalists.
The row began after Lineker called a Home Office video of Suella Braverman’s introduction of the government’s new bill “beyond awful” on Twitter. The bill would prohibit people who arrive in the UK in small boats from claiming asylum in the country ever. He stated, “this is just an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s, and I’m out of order?”
Lineker took to Twitter on Monday, expressing his relief and gratitude for the support during the crisis. He thanked his colleagues at BBC Sport for their solidarity at a difficult time.
Football is a team game but their backing was overwhelming. “I have been presenting sport on the BBC for almost 3 decades and am immeasurably proud to work with the best and fairest broadcaster in the world. I can’t wait to get back in the MOTD chair on Saturday.”