BBC tells Gary Lineker to ‘step back’ from Match Of The Day amid asylum row
Gary Lineker will “step back” from presenting Match Of The Day until he and the BBC have reached an “agreed and clear position” on his use of social media, the broadcaster said.
The presenter 62, has been embroiled in a row over impartiality after comparing the language used to launch a new Government asylum policy with 1930s Germany.
A BBC spokesperson said: “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.
“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.”
It is not yet clear who will stand in for him during Saturday’s edition of Match Of The Day.
The row was sparked by his response on Twitter to a Home Office video in which Home Secretary Suella Braverman unveiled the Government’s plans to stop migrants crossing the Channel on small boats.
The former England striker wrote: “There is no huge influx. We take far fewer refugees than other major European countries.
“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.”
He has since faced criticism from Downing Street, Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer and Ms Braverman, who accused him of “diminishing the unspeakable tragedy” of the Holocaust.
However, support has come from media figures including Piers Morgan and Sky News commentator Adam Boulton.
After the announcement, ex-Blue Peter presenter Simon Thomas said: “I wonder what the end result would have been had @GaryLineker Tweeted his whole hearted support for the Government’s immigration policy & had used the same inflammatory words like ‘invasion’ that were deployed by @SuellaBraverman?
“This (100 emoji) would not have been the end result.”
Jon Sopel drew a comparison with the corporation’s chairman Richard Sharp, who has been involved in a cronyism row over him helping Boris Johnson secure an £800,000 loan facility.
The former BBC correspondent tweeted: “Lucky there are no producer guidelines on whether you need to declare facilitating an £800k loan to a prime minister while applying for a job as chairman of a broadcasting organisation…”
Lineker tweeted on Thursday that he was “very much looking forward” to presenting Match Of The Day on Saturday.
He previously told reporters outside his London home that he stood by his criticism of the immigration policy and did not fear suspension by the BBC.
BBC director-general Tim Davie warned staff about their use of social media when he took on the role at the end of 2020, and guidelines around social media use have since been updated.
Staff were told they need to follow editorial guidelines and editorial oversight in the same way as when doing BBC content.
Lineker is a freelance broadcaster for the BBC, not a permanent member of staff, and is not responsible for news or political content so does not need to adhere to the same rules on impartiality.
A representative of Lineker has been contacted for comment.
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The BBC will also not broadcast an episode of David Attenborough new series for fear of tory backlash.
And their I was thinking that all the snowflakes were on the left
The “snowflakes” have always been on the right wing…. two men kissing and holding hands is enough to make a right winger cry… Transwomen just existing make right-wingers blart…..
Very true Cathy.
In the 80s they were offended by Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Madonna.
Mary Whitehouse offended by sex and swear words on television
Religious televangelists in the US trying to ban pornography
Donald Trump cannot deal with any kind of criticism, and refuses to accept he lost the election. But hey were meant to think that ‘snowflakes are leftists.
Gay marriage was legalised under a TORY government, but historical facts don’t get in the way of your constant hatred towards the Tories. The Tories have always been known as the party with gay people. This Tory government has been very supportive of trans recognition so it’s about time you stopped with the lies and started learning the facts.
Lineker and Attenborough red carded !
I really hope Gary’s mates on MOTD refuse to sit in his chair…
The licence payer ought to do a little soul searching here and give Auntie the finger…
Still Fiona Bruce will tell fibs till the cows come home on Newsnight. Old man Johnson regularly beat his wife as Fat Shanks could testify…
Ian Wright is the first no show…good man !
Shearer joins Ian in the changing room…good man
It will take more than a Braverman and a Sunak to win against UK football! They have totally misread the room, people will be getting their ID voting cards in the morning…
Now tell me again, why exactly we should remain part of the “UK”?
Shameful! We pay a licence fee for this sort of authoritarian behavior. If you ever doubted the BBC was in the pockets of the Tory Party . doubt no more! I hope people boycott the BBC en masse,
1-0 to the fascist scum. Brexit is finally coming home.
Who do you love Football or the Tories? The BBC drives over a cliff…
Are you following this Ryan, a chance to start a new sports channel…
MOTD tomorrow 3 empty chairs and highlights only…just say no and watch something else…
as if I watched foozball anyway!How do I protest?!
I believe there is a petition running @Daily Mirror… apparently as many as 23 million folks watch MOTD (match of the day, Saturday)…
My preferred method is to hurl curses, bottles and cans at the wire mesh protected TV, if you have seen the film Road House featuring the late Jeff Healy and his band you’ll get my drift…
Because the BBC is not the propaganda arm of the tory party
But it’s ok for Braverman and Sunak to publicly call Kier Starmer a lefty lawyer. Their contempt is beyond belief.
Oh the irony, the English were originally migrants themselves. But I’m sure they aren’t concerned, seeing how they stole Britishness for themselves. They are just concerned that future generations may steal England out from under them, like they did with us and Britain.
Was there anything wrong in what Gary Lineker said? No.
Should he have made it clear that it was his view and not that of his employer? Yes.
Should he have shared it? Maybe not.
Have others employed by the BBC shared views of center-right and even right-wing persuasions and no fuss been created (or at least no fuss previously heard)? Yes.
Would these BBC chiefs have taken action if Gary was outwardly supportive of the Tory government? No.
Who would have believed 10 years ago that the Tory party would be running scared of premiere league football players. First it was Marcus Rashford, exposing Tory cruelty to starving English children and forcing a Tory U turn on official gov policy. Now its Gary Lineker commenting on Tory policy that has them demanding his head on a plate. Bravo to his co presenters Alan Shearer and Ian Wright who refuse to appear without him. 1930’s Germany anybody? Freedom of speech and expression? Gov control over the press and media.
This is nothing to do with the government but abiding by the BBC’s own guidelines of impartiality. No BBC employee gets away with so much freedom to express political views on social media as Lineker. Two years ago Hugh Edwards was told to delete a tweet showing the Welsh flag because of their impartiality guidelines. He was also spoken to by BBC bosses after posting a comment about the Thomas Picton painting in Cardiff museum. Just because Lineker has posted a comment that some people think is on the right side of the argument doesn’t mean that he should have… Read more »
Are you trying to say it had nothing to do with 36 Tory MP’s writing to Tim Davie, former Tory politician and now Dir Gen of the BBC, demanding Gary Lineker apologise and be sacked.
Well said Gary. Footballers are the new opposition. SOLIDARITY from Wrighty and Shearer also good to see.