Gary Lineker Row: Reinstatement is “like a 5-0 win” for him, says former BBC chief executive Greg Dyke

A former BBC chief executive said the reinstatement of Gary Lineker as Match Of The Day presenter was like a “5-0 win” for the sports presenter.

Greg Dyke, who is also former Football Association (FA) chairman, said there was a perception the broadcaster had been “bullied” by the government into making its original decision to remove Linker from programming.

On Monday, current BBC chief executive Tim Davie apologized for “the potential confusion caused by the gray areas of the BBC’s social media guidelines” that had led to the recent impartiality row.

Lineker, 62, was taken off the air over a tweet that compared the language used to introduce a new government asylum-seekers policy to that of 1930s Germany, prompting a boycott of the MOTD by several regular pundits and commentators led.

Mr Davie confirmed his return to the football highlights show on Saturday, saying the presenter “will be adhering to editorial guidelines” pending a review of the BBC’s social media policy.

Speaking to Andrew Marr, Mr Dyke said: “Today’s announcement is really like a 5-0 win for Gary Lineker, or maybe 5-1.

“As I understand it, this was the very solution offered to the BBC on Friday and they rejected it – now they have accepted it.”

Mr Dyke was Director-General of the BBC from 2000 to 2004 but resigned after heavy criticism of the BBC’s news reporting process in the Hutton Inquiry.

Today’s announcement really feels like a 5-0 win for Gary Lineker, or maybe 5-1.

Former BBC Director General Greg Dyke

He also served as FA chairman from 2013 to 2016.

He told Marr: “In the 20 years since I left the BBC I have never criticized the leadership of the BBC because I think it’s a really tough job as you know.

“And I think by and large, if you’re an ex-director, it’s generally your job to walk away.

“But in this case the perception out there, the public perception, I think is exactly what you said: it looks like the government pushed the BBC to make that (original) decision.

“Well, I don’t know if that’s true or not. I have no idea. But if that’s the perception, that’s very bad news for the BBC.”

The impartiality row over Lineker’s tweet has also raised more questions about the position of BBC chairman Richard Sharp after it emerged he helped former Prime Minister Boris Johnson secure an £800,000 loan facility.

An investigation is ongoing into Mr. Sharp’s appointment to this position.

Asked about Mr Sharp’s removal from the position, Mr Dyke said: “I’m not sure I think he should go.

“Personally, I hope there is an opportunity in this inquiry to look all the way through to how the Chair and Governors are appointed at the BBC.

“Because I think…we’re in a world now where they shouldn’t be appointed by the government of the day.”

When asked about alternative methods of selecting the BBC leader, he added: “It could be a panel of MPs, it could be a panel of the great and good, it could be anything.

‘But I don’t think you can go on. I think that sums up the whole discussion of impartiality in the new world and I think the BBC needs to address that.” Gary Lineker Row: Reinstatement is “like a 5-0 win” for him, says former BBC chief executive Greg Dyke

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