BBC says Gary Lineker will interrupt ‘Match of the Day’ presentation after immigration tweets


Gary Lineker will take a step back from hosting Britain’s iconic football show ‘Match of the Day’ following controversy over a tweet he wrote earlier in the week, the UK announced on Friday. BBC.

On Tuesday, Lineker tweeted “My God this is beyond awful” in a video posted to Twitter by the UK Home Office announcing the government’s policy on asylum seekers.

He then went on to write, “There is no mass influx. We welcome far fewer refugees than other major European countries. This is just an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language no different from that used by Germany in the 1930s, and I’m out of order? »

A BBC statement said Lineker’s decision to step back followed “prolonged discussions” with the former England international and his team.

“We said we consider his recent social media activity a violation of our guidelines,” the statement read.

“The BBC has decided that he will refrain from presenting Match of the Day until we have a clear and agreed position on his use of social media.

“When it comes to directing our coverage of football and sports, Gary is second to none. We have never said Gary should be an opinion free zone, or that he cannot have an opinion on issues that matter to him, but we said he should refrain from taking sides on party politics or political controversies.”

Lineker’s team declined to comment on the BBC statement when contacted by CNN.

No presenters or pundits will appear on Saturday’s Match of the Day show, after a series of statements of support for Lineker.

Former football players Alan Shearer and Ian Wright both announced on Twitter that they had told the BBC they would not appear on the show.

“I have informed the BBC that I will not be appearing on MOTD tomorrow night,” Shearer wrote on Twitter.

“Everyone knows what Match of the Day means to me, but I told the BBC I won’t do it tomorrow. Solidarity,” Wright tweeted.

“Some of our pundits have said they do not wish to appear on the program while we seek to resolve the situation with Gary. We understand their position and have decided that the program will focus on match action without presentation in studio or expertise,” a BBC spokesperson said on Friday evening.

Dan Walker, a former BBC Breakfast and Football Focus presenter, also tweeted: ‘Used to sit for Gary Lineker on MOTD…not sure I’d fancy it this weekend. What a mess!”

Meanwhile, the BECTU union, which represents BBC staff, on Friday expressed concern over the BBC’s decision.

“This is a deeply worrying move by the BBC. It will give the impression that they have given in to political pressure from ministers to take someone off the air because they disagree with the policies of the current government,” BECTU leader Philippa Childs said in a statement.

“Caught up with the ongoing controversy over the appointment of the chairman of the BBC, who has a far greater role in upholding the BBC’s reputation, and who has not backed down during the investigation, he also risks feel like double standards on these issues.”

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