Home Football MOTD saga: BBC apologises, restores Gary Lineker

MOTD saga: BBC apologises, restores Gary Lineker

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Gary Lineker is set to return to Match of the Day at the Etihad Stadium this weekend after talks with BBC.

This past weekend, football coverage on BBC TV and radio shows took a hit as pundits in solidarity with Lineker walked out on the shows.

BBC told the former England captain to stand down from presenting Match of the Day over his tweet where he compared the new immigration law on asylum seekers by the UK government with 1930s Germany.

On Saturday, Match of the Day aired for only 20 minutes without the accompanying commentary or analysis from presenters while Sunday’s edition aired for a reduced 15 minutes.

Reports afterwards revealed that communications between the BBC and Lineker were positive.

On Monday morning, the BBC in a statement confirmed that it had reached a deal to get the Match of the Day presenter back on air.

BBC Director General Tim Davie apologised for the “potential confusion caused by the grey areas of the BBC’s social media guidance” and emphasised the broadcaster’s importance to the BBC.

He said: “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.

“Everyone recognises this has been a difficult period for staff, contributors, presenters and, most importantly, our audiences. I apologise for this.”

Davie also announced that Lineker will be launching an investigation into its social media rules.

“I am glad that we have found a way forward. I support this review and look forward to getting back on air,” Lineker said, as part of the BBC statement.

He further added on Twitter: “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 3 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.

“A final thought: 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. Thank you.”

Lineker is expected to cover the opening FA Cup quarter-final between Manchester City and Burnley.

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