Gary Lineker latest news: BBC decision ‘mistaken’ as Match of the Day commentators join boycott

Downing Street calls Gary Lineker’s criticism of asylum policy ‘unacceptable’

Match of The Day commentators have joined the BBC show’s boycott after the broadcaster announced it would air Saturday without presenters or pundits over Gary Lineker’s removal from the show.

It comes as former England footballers and MOTD regulars including Alan Shearer and Ian Wright had previously withdrawn from the show in “solidarity” with Lineker, who was told to “step down” from his position.

The BBC has been criticized by its former chief executive Greg Dyke, who told Today the BBC’s decision was “wrong” and “undermined its own credibility”.

Premier League clubs are now in talks on whether to join the growing Match of the Day boycott, with current players keen to show unity with ex-professionals like Lineker, Wright and Shearer.

Lineker was embroiled in a dispute over impartiality after comparing the language used to introduce a new government asylum policy to 1930s Germany.

It was prompted by his reaction on Twitter to a Home Office video in which Home Secretary Suella Braverman revealed plans to stop people crossing the Channel on small boats.


Petition to reinstate Lineker nears 130,000 signatures

An online petition calling for the reinstatement of Gary Lineker to his Match Of The Day post is nearing 130,000 signatures.

The petition, organized by The Mirror on Friday, achieved its original goal in less than 10 hours.

Katy CliftonMarch 11, 2023 10:00 am


BBC ‘did not apply guidelines fairly’

The BBC has “failed to apply its guidelines fairly,” said former journalist Baroness Wheatcroft.

“The problem is that the BBC has guidelines but is not applying them fairly,” the Crossbench peer, who sits on the Lords Communications and Digital Committee, told BBC Radio 4 Today Program.

“I mean guidelines only work if they are widely applied within the guidelines and the BBC has clearly failed here.”

She said the company “should be working very closely with both sides on policy to develop a policy that it will then apply across the board.”

Meanwhile, she said, it should “call for the suspension” of “clearly partisan” leader Richard Sharp, who helped Boris Johnson secure an £800,000 loan facility.

Baroness Wheatcroft says the BBC has failed to apply its guidelines fairly

(PA Archive)

Katy CliftonMarch 11, 2023 9:45 am


Gary Lineker: History of the Match of the Day host of political tweets

This wasn’t the first time Mr Lineker had spoken out about his political views on Twitter – and history suggests it might not be the last.

Here my colleague Matt Mathers takes a look at some of the most notable moments over the years:

Jamie BraidwoodMarch 11, 2023 09:30


BBC charged with ‘cowardly decision’

Labor Deputy Leader Angela Rayner said the suspension of Gary Lineker from Match Of The Day was “an attack on freedom of expression”.

She tweeted: “The BBC’s cowardly decision to take Gary Lineker off the air is an attack on freedom of expression in the face of political pressure from Tory politicians. You should rethink.”

Katy CliftonMarch 11, 2023 9:15 am


Lineker ‘may have presented the last game of the day’

Richard Ayre, former head of editorial policy at the BBC, said Gary Lineker may have presented his last match of the day.

Speaking on the BBC Breakfast, Mr Ayre said: “I think it’s an irreconcilable position between the BBC’s guidelines and Gary, who quite understandably feels that he, as an individual, has the right to voice his views on any subject, however political controversial it can be and the BBC takes a different view because their guidelines set out special rules for people who are really BBC high profile personalities and I don’t think it’s likely they’ll reconcile in the coming days.

“Unfortunately, that may be the last time we see Gary host Match Of The Day.”

Mr Ayre insisted there was no hypocrisy regarding the BBC not disciplining Lord Sugar who is said to have publicly supported political positions.

He said the company’s policies relate to people with “a particularly high profile on the BBC” and that there is “quite a gulf” between Lineker and Lord Sugar in that regard.

When asked about double standards against BBC chairman Richard Sharpe, Mr Ayre said the broadcaster does not appoint its own chairman and “cannot fire him”.

Katy CliftonMarch 11, 2023 09:11


Premier League clubs receive match of the day tips

According to the BBC, Premier League clubs have been told they will not be receiving match-of-the-day interview requests today.

It follows that of the independent reported this morning that clubs had major concerns about allowing their employers to speak to the program as players and managers would join in boycotting the programme.

The BBC is now ready to take every decision out of their hands and the 12 Premier League teams playing today will not receive any interview requests after the game.

The Professional Footballers Association said they would support players if they refused to speak to Match of the Day in solidarity with Gary Lineker. Fines could have been imposed for non-compliance with the broadcasting obligations,

Jamie BraidwoodMarch 11, 2023 09:10


The decision to remove Gary Lineker from the Match of the Day was a mistake, says ex-BBC boss

The former BBC director-general said it was “a mistake” to take Gary Lineker off the air.

Gary Lineker was called down from his regular seat hosting Match Of The Day after a tweet comparing the language used to launch the government’s asylum seeker policy to that of 1930s Germany on Twitter.

When asked if Lineker’s tweet was acceptable, Greg Dyke told BBC Radio 4’s Today program: “We live in a world of free speech and therefore, yes. He didn’t broadcast it on the BBC, it was a tweet he made privately.”

Mr Dyke continued: “I think what the BBC did yesterday was wrong. And I have never gone public in the years since I left the BBC to criticize the BBC’s leadership and the decisions they make because I know what a difficult job it is and difficult decisions have to be hit.”

But, he said, the precedent at the company is that “news and current affairs workers are expected to be impartial and not the others.”

Reporter Joe Middleton has more:

Jamie BraidwoodMarch 11, 2023 08:50


BBC ‘mistaken’ to take Gary Lineker off the air, says former general manager

Former BBC director general Greg Dyke has criticized the decision to take Gary Lineker off the air.

According to Dyke, the BBC “undermined its own credibility” by withdrawing Lineker from hosting the Match of the Day.

“I think what the BBC did yesterday was a mistake,” Dyke said on BBC Radio Four’s Today programme.

“Over the years I have never gone public to criticize the BBC’s leadership because I know what a difficult job it is.

“If you thought at the Match of the Day tonight that he had spoken about immigration policy, then I can understand the BBC’s position.

“But when he talks about football he knows about it, he’s qualified to talk about it and I don’t think that affects the BBC’s impartiality.”

Jamie BraidwoodMarch 11, 2023 08:30


Premier League players in talks about joining match-of-the-day boycott

There were also concerns within some Premier League clubs over whether their managers and players at the match of the day would constitute something of a “political act”.

Match of the Day commentators joined the strike late Friday night, potentially leaving the country’s flagship program in a position of no description, analysis or interviews.

A joint statement from the group, which includes regular commentators such as Steve Wilson and Conor McNamara, said: “It would not be appropriate to participate in the program.”

You can read the latest from Miguel Delaney here:

Jamie BraidwoodMarch 11, 2023 08:10


Premier League players in talks about joining match-of-the-day boycott

The Match of the Day is threatened with a blackout of players and managers as well as experts, commentators and moderators that of the independent Chief Football Writer Miguel Delaney.

A number of Premier League clubs have major reservations about allowing their employers to speak to the scheme and many players want to show unity with ex-professionals such as Gary Lineker, Ian Wright and Alan Shearer.

Fines could be imposed for non-compliance with broadcasting obligations, but the Professional Footballers Association is seen by its members as supporting such an attitude.

(Getty Images)

Jamie BraidwoodMarch 11, 2023 07:50


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