'I'm sorry' - BBC issues apology as Match of the Day slashed to just 20 minutes amid Gary Lineker tweet row
- MOTD run time will be severely reduced
- Games will have no commentary
- Many BBC employees showing solidarity with Lineker
WHAT HAPPENED? The BBC has seen limited football coverage on Saturday in response to the suspension of Match of the Day presenter Linker. Hosts, pundits and commentators alike have pulled out of scheduled broadcasting across the weekend, meaning Saturday night's highlights programme will be just 20 minutes long.
Match of the Day will run for 20 minutes tonight. pic.twitter.com/YIuoCFVbvP— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) March 11, 2023
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THE BIGGER PICTURE: Lineker has been locked in a row with the BBC after the ex-England striker posted a tweet which is alleged to have broke the broadcasting corporations impartiality guidelines. On Friday the BBC reported that the presenter would not front Match of the Day as usual, which created a domino affect as Ian Wright and Alan Shearer also withdrew from their normal duties. The fallout didn't stop there as BBC's team of commentators withdrew, and the PFA announced that players and managers would not be asked to interview for the BBC over the weekend.
WHAT THEY SAID: BBC director general Tim Davie says it has been a "difficult day" as he apologised for the disruption to BBC sports programming. "I’m sorry audiences have been affected and they haven’t got the programming," he said. "As a keen sports fan I know to miss programming is a real blow and I’m sorry about that. We are working very hard to resolve this situation and make sure we get output on air."
He added: "Everyone wants to calmly resolve the situation. Gary Lineker’s the best in the business - that’s not for debate."
AND WHAT'S MORE: On Saturday morning Final Score, Football focus and BBC Radio 5 Live's football coverage was all suspended. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admitted he was confused over the decision to suspend Lineker saying it is a "really difficult world" to live in at the moment. It was revealed that the BBC will run highlights of Saturday's game with no punditry, commentary or interviews in the shortened broadcast.
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WHAT NEXT FOR THE BBC & LINEKER? It is unclear what the next steps for Lineker, Match of the Day and the BBC are at this point in time. On Thursday Lineker tweeted that he expected to be working on Saturday evening, but the dramatic turn of events mean otherwise. He decided to spend his Saturday watching his beloved Leicester at home to Chelsea as the saga rumbles on.