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Gary Lineker: Match of the Day presenter to return to hosting BBC Sport after conflict resolved | Football News

Gary Lineker is back to present sport for the BBC, Sky Sports News reports; Lineker resigned from his presenting duties on Friday, prompting several pundits to also withdraw from BBC Sport programmes; Last week’s MOTD and MOTD2 ran for a total of 35 minutes


9:58, United Kingdom, Monday March 13, 2023

Gary Lineker is expected to return to presenting sport for the BBC. Sky Sports News understands.

It is understood that the company will apologize to the Match of the Day moderator.

However, it is unclear if Lineker will be back on the air for this weekend’s FA Cup quarter-finals, with a BBC announcement expected on Monday.

Sky News understands the matter between Gary Lineker and the BBC will soon be resolved, according to sources close to the presenter

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

He has been suspended by the BBC from presenting MOTD after they said in a statement he would “step down” from hosting the weekly football highlights programme.

Sky news assumes that Lineker had refuted this phrasing and that the company had instead forced him off the air as he was unwilling to apologize for the comments he had made.

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The BBC guidelines…

Gary Lineker signed a five-year deal with the BBC in 2020, agreeing to uphold their updated impartiality rules.

The rules for news and current affairs journalists are very strict, with their personal accounts being treated as if they were part of the BBC’s output.

Because Lineker works in the sports department, he has more freedom to express his own opinions, but still has to “avoid discrediting the BBC”, according to the guidelines.

The BBC guidelines went on to say: “There are also others who are not journalists or involved in factual programming but who, because of their profile with the BBC, have additional responsibilities to the BBC. We expect these individuals to avoid taking sides on partisan issues or political controversies and to exercise caution in handling public policy matters.”

It’s been a tumultuous weekend for the BBC and its football programmes, particularly Saturday night’s Match of the Day, which had a much shorter airtime of 20 minutes, with no commentary, expert analysis, post-match interviews or theme music.

Pundits Ian Wright and Alan Shearer both announced they would not be appearing on the match of the day, and a host of presenters, ex-footballers and commentators followed suit by not appearing on the BBC’s weekend football shows.

Presenters who have withdrawn from BBC programs about the Lineker series

  • Alex Scott – hosts Football Focus and other BBC football coverage
  • Jason Mohammad – presents the final standings since 2013
  • Alan Shearer – former English footballer who has appeared on and off the BBC since 2006
  • Ian Wright – another former English star who has been appearing regularly on the BBC since 2017
  • Mark Chapman – Sunday regular host of Match of the Day 2 as well as Saturday host of 5 Live Sports
  • Kelly Somers – covers matches for BBC football shows and was considered a contender to host Football Focus
  • Dion Dublin – ex-Manchester United player and regular Football Focus pundit – alongside his duties as Homes Under The Hammer host
  • Colin Murray – a BBC Radio 5 Live mainstay and presenter of The Fighting Talk Show on the station
  • Jermain Defoe – a regular Match of the Day 2 expert
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Lineker, who has not tweeted or commented publicly since being suspended by the company on Friday, once again dodged reporters’ questions as he left his home in south-west London to walk his dog.

“I can’t say anything,” he told the media.

Meanwhile, Sunday night’s Match of the Day 2 only lasted 14 minutes. Jermain Defoe previously announced he would not be appearing on the show as a pundit.

On BBC Two, the Women’s Super League game between Chelsea and Manchester United began with no pre-match presentation and no experts – it was broadcast live with commentary from the world feed.

BBC Radio 5 Live’s programming schedules were also affected for a second day.

How the BBC boycott began

The boycott began when former Arsenal striker and pundit Wright said on Friday night that he would not be taking part in Saturday’s Match of the Day program out of “solidarity” with Lineker, while former Newcastle and England striker Shearer later announced that he would also not be appearing on the show.

On Friday’s episode of his podcast, Wrighty’s House, Wright added, “I’m going to tell you something. If they do – the BBC gets rid of Gary Lineker – I’m out, I’m out. I’m not staying there. He should be able to say what he wants to say on his own platform.”

Former Arsenal and England defender Alex Scott self-excluded from presenting Saturday’s MOTD by tweeting: “FYI…” and a GIF that reads “Nah! Not me” quoted.

MOTD regulars Micah Richards and Jermaine Jenas also said they would not be appearing on the show.

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Final Score and Football Focus were withdrawn from BBC One on Saturday after their respective presenters, Jason Mohammad and Scott, said they would not be hosting their shows.

BBC 5 Live’s Fighting Talk was not broadcast on Saturday morning for “obvious reasons” by presenter Colin Murray and presenter Mark Chapman withdrew from hosting BBC Radio 5 Live Sport.

Premier League players were also not asked to give interviews for MOTD on Saturday, but were asked to do interviews for BBC Radio.

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