BBC boss Tim Davie won’t step down over Gary Lineker row but admits ‘difficult day’

The BBC’s director-general Tim Davie has apologized to the audience for the disruption to the company’s sports programming schedule but said he would not be stepping down.

In an interview with BBC News, after Gary Lineker was asked to step down from hosting Match of the Day, the BBC boss admitted boycotts had made for a “difficult day”.

“As an avid sports fan, I know that missing out on programming is a real blow, and I’m sorry for that. We are working very hard to resolve this situation and ensure we get broadcast on broadcast,” said Mr Davie.

He added: “Everyone wants to resolve the situation calmly. Gary Lineker is the best in the business – there’s no question about that.”

BBC director-general Tim Davie said he wanted to get Gary Lineker back on the air.

Speaking to BBC News in Washington DC, Mr Davie said it had been a “difficult day” and they were working hard to get the program back on the air.

He continued, “I don’t want to get too bogged down in the exact discussion.

“I think everyone wants to resolve the situation calmly. I would say Gary Lineker is an excellent presenter. He’s the best in the business, that’s out of the question.”

Mr Davie added: “To be clear, success for me is – Gary is getting back on the air and together we’re bringing audiences this world-class sports coverage which, as I said, unfortunately we weren’t able to deliver today.”

The Prime Minister has commented on the controversy surrounding the BBC’s decision to take Gary Lineker off the air for the first time, saying it was “a matter for them, not the government”.

In a statement, Rishi Sunak said: “As Prime Minister, I must do what I see fit while respecting that not everyone will always agree. So I was unequivocal in my approach to stopping the boats.

“Gary Lineker was a great footballer and is a talented presenter. I hope that the current situation between Gary Lineker and the BBC can be resolved in a timely manner, but it is rightfully a matter for them, not the government.”

Mr Davie’s comments come as BBC One’s schedule was updated to show Match Of The Day will now only be broadcast for 20 minutes. The football highlights program, which usually lasts around one hour and 30 minutes, will now be broadcast from 10:20 p.m. to 10:40 p.m.

It will also have no accompanying commentary or analysis, said BBC sports editor Dan Roan.

The Sports Journalists’ Association (SJA) has said it “fully supports” the freedom of expression of its members and colleagues in the industry after BBC presenters and pundits were boycotted in support of Gary Lineker.

In a statement on Twitter, they said: “The Sports Journalists’ Association of Great Britain fully supports its members and industry peers on freedom of expression.

“The SJA would like to express its solidarity on this matter and will continue to monitor developments in the BBC and Gary Lineker story.”

More to come… BBC boss Tim Davie won’t step down over Gary Lineker row but admits ‘difficult day’

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