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Gary Lineker to return to Match of The Day as BBC apologise following tweet row

13 Mar 2023 3 minute read
Gary Lineker, will return as a presenter for Match of the Day – Ian Walton, PA Images

Gary Lineker will return to hosting Match Of The Day after BBC director-general Tim Davie apologised for the disruption to the weekend’s football coverage.

Lineker was told to step back from presenting the programme in a row over impartiality but will return to hosting coverage this weekend.

Writing on Twitter, Lineker said: “After a surreal few days, I’m delighted that we have navigated a way through this. I want to thank you all for the incredible support, particularly my colleagues at BBC Sport, for the remarkable show of solidarity.

“Football is a team game but their backing was overwhelming.

“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.

“However difficult the last few days have been, it simply doesn’t compare to having to flee your home from persecution or war to seek refuge in a land far away. It’s heartwarming to have seen the empathy towards their plight from so many of you.

“We remain a country of predominantly tolerant, welcoming and generous people.”

Lineker did not appear on the football highlights programme on Saturday after he was told to stand down from the role when he compared language used to launch a new Government asylum seeker policy with 1930s Germany in a Tweet.

Football coverage on BBC TV and radio shows was hit across the weekend as fellow pundits, presenters and reporters – including Alan Shearer, Ian Wright and Alex Scott – walked out in “solidarity” with Lineker.

Difficult period

Tim Davie said he looks forward to Lineker returning to presenting duties this weekend and also announced an independent review of social media guidelines at the corporation, particularly for freelancers.

In a statement, Davie said: “Everyone recognises this has been a difficult period for staff, contributors, presenters and, most importantly, our audiences. I apologise for this. 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.

“Impartiality is important to the BBC. It is also important to the public. The BBC has a commitment to impartiality in its Charter and a commitment to freedom of expression. That is a difficult balancing act to get right where people are subject to different contracts and on air positions, and with different audience and social media profiles.

“The BBC’s social media guidance is designed to help manage these sometimes difficult challenges and I am aware there is a need to ensure that the guidance is up to this task. It should be clear, proportionate, and appropriate.

“Accordingly, we are announcing a review led by an independent expert – reporting to the BBC – on its existing social media guidance, with a particular focus on how it applies to freelancers outside news and current affairs. The BBC and myself are aware that Gary is in favour of such a review.

“Shortly, the BBC will announce who will conduct that review. Whilst this work is undertaken, the BBC’s current social media guidance remains in place.

“Gary is a valued part of the BBC and I know how much the BBC means to Gary, and I look forward to him presenting our coverage this coming weekend.”


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Karl
Karl
11 months ago

So glad I legally stopped funding state propaganda 6yrs ago. Andrew Neil and Farage have been given freedom that Lineker was denied both in social media and on air. BBC needs to go.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
11 months ago
Reply to  Karl

No. The BBC must stop the lie that “balance” means allowing fascists to air their views but we do need a public broadcast service or we end up Foxed.
Your solution would be to deny Lineker a voice.

Last edited 11 months ago by Kerry Davies
Rob
Rob
11 months ago
Reply to  Karl

Do you really want to be like America where you have commercial breaks every 5 minutes? Opinionated news networks like Fox where people only believe what they want to believe. Now you have people refusing to acknowledge that Joe Biden was legitimately elected President. We are already halfway there with GBeebies.
Granted there are a lot of issues I have with the BBC, but I would rather have the current setup with what they got in America any day

Max Wallis
Max Wallis
11 months ago

The BBC impartiality review needs to go wider.   Let’s remember the fall-out from the 2021 “Nolan Investigates Stonewall” podcasts.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nolan_Investigates The BBC withdrew from association with Stonewall and director general Tim Davie then unveiled a new 10-point impartiality plan. He accepted Stephen Nolan questioning whether the BBC can be impartial when reporting on public policy debates where Stonewall is taking an active role.   That was a good start. Support for Ukraine is still assumed okay. “Our troubled rivers” fronted by Paul Whitehouse has got through, but may seem more controversial. We viewers and listeners expect to receive news from disparate sources, see public debate… Read more »

Malcolm Jones
Malcolm Jones
11 months ago

I watched match of the day and i really enjoyed it with no commentary it was like being in the match with All the crowd around you and in Best seat in the stadium

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
11 months ago
Reply to  Malcolm Jones

Good point, two versions, because 1 watch and go 2 keep an eye on the refs etc cos they already get away with ‘murder’ and it can be entertaining to listen to. Would you ask the same of snooker coverage?

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
11 months ago

BBC senior canteen puts Humble Pie on the menu for the very first time, if my recollections of conversations between program editors and Mr Bolton are correct…

From my brief glance at the facial language of Mr Tim Davie this must his first taste of the dish…the words supercilious, arrogant, haughty, conceited and self-regarding springs to mind.

And probably not the best company in a small boat, although this was my first and only impression…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
11 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Past employment of Tim Davie…Proctor & Gamble and Pepsi…

Lineker has had a close shave there and should he have imbibed too heavily of Mr Davie’s past stock in trade obesity, type 2 diabetes, weight gain, fatty liver disease and an increased risk of heart disease and cancer are a possibility…

How a 2 US company CV gave Tim Davie the credentials to run the BBC God knows!

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