BBC says Gary Lineker will step back from Match of the Day presentation following Twitter controversy

(CNN) 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 are taking in far fewer refugees than other major European countries. This is simply an immeasurably cruel policy directed against the most vulnerable people in a language that is no different from that used by Germany in the 30s, and I’m down?”

A BBC statement said Lineker’s decision to step back followed “extensive 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 stop 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 football and sports coverage, Gary is second to none. We have never said that Gary should be an opinionless zone, or that he cannot have an opinion on matters matters to him, but we have said he should steer clear of taking sides on party political issues or political controversies.”

The decision sparked a lot of reactions online.

Ian Wright, a former England international who appears on ‘Match of the Day’ alongside Lineker, said he will not appear on the show on Saturday in response to the BBC’s decision.

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

Meanwhile, Dan Walker, a former BBC Breakfast and Football Focus presenter, tweeted: “Used to fill in for Gary Lineker on MOTD…not sure I’d fancy it this weekend. Such a waste!”

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

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