Gary Lineker AXED from Match of the Day! BBC presenter to step back from flagship football show until agreement is reached on social media use
- Lineker critical of government policy
- BBC say he's breached guidelines
- Will step back from role for now
WHAT HAPPENED? Lineker has been in the spotlight after criticising the government's asylum seeker policy with a post on Twitter. The former England captain wrote "Good heavens this is awful" in response to a video message by home secretary, Suella Braverman regarding stopping people crossing the Channel in small boats. The TV presenter was then challenged on his position and described the language used by the government as "not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s."
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WHAT THEY SAID: The BBC has now confirmed discussions are needed with Lineker regarding impartiality and his social media usage and he will not present Match of the Day until an agreement is reached.
"The BBC has been in extensive discussions with Gary and his team in recent days. We have said that we consider his recent social media activity to be a breach of our guidelines," a statement read. "The BBC has decided that he will step back from presenting Match of the Day until we've got an agreed and clear position on his use of social media. When it comes to leading our football and sports coverage, Gary is second to none. We have never said that Gary should be an opinion free zone, or that he can't have a view on issues that matter to him, but we have said that he should keep well away from taking sides on party political issues or political controversies."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Lineker has thanked people for their support during the row and had said he expected to be presenting Match of the Day as normal on Saturday. However, that is no longer the case with the former England international now set to be replaced. It remains to be seen when or if he will return to his position on the flagship programme in the future.
AND WHAT'S MORE: Shortly after the news broke, Rob Harris reported that Lineker had been removed from the show after refusing to apologise for his comments. Ian Wright has also confirmed he will not be appearing on Match of the Day on Saturday in "solidarity" with Lineker. Alan Shearer has since confirmed he will not be present either, along with Alex Scott and Mark Chapman - leaving the BBC scrambling to find a panel.
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WHAT NEXT? Match of the Day will return with a new presenter on Saturday and will feature highlights from games involving Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City, and Lineker's former side Leicester City.