Gary Lineker will ‘never apologize, never back down’ on the BBC series – but will return to Match Of The Day, says son George
GARY Lineker will ‘never apologize’ or ‘never back down’ in his tweet spat with the BBC, says his son.
But George, 31, stressed his father was open to a return to the Beeb after he was stripped of the Match of the Day for comparing the government’s illegal migration law to “1930s Germany”.
The suspension of the expert caused chaos on Saturday – the match of the day took place without moderators, experts or commentators.
The show only ran 20 minutes when the carnage-devoured BBC limped to get the show on the air without even playing the theme tune.
Speak with The Sunday MirrorGary’s eldest praised his father as a “good man” who kept his word.
He added: “That’s why he got pulled from the show – because he didn’t want to apologize.
“Taking him off the air because he has a voice is tough and I think he was surprised and a little bit disappointed.”
George went on to discuss whether his father will return to the BBC amid reports that broadcasters are lining up to poach the veteran presenter.
He stated: “Will he return to Match of the Day? I think so – he loves Match of the Day. But he’ll never go back on his word.”
Noting Gary’s passion for standing up for those without a voice, George pointed to the ex-England star’s decision to welcome two refugees into his home.
The pundit sparked a free speech controversy when he responded to a Twitter video of Home Secretary Suella Braverman unveiling the government’s small boat plan.
The legislation provides that migrants are quickly arrested and deported within 28 days either to their country of origin or to a safe third country.
Sharing the clip, Mr Lineker said: “Good heavens, this is beyond awful.”
Responding to another user who described him as “out of order,” he added: “We take in far fewer refugees than other major European countries.
“This is just immeasurably cruel policy aimed at the most vulnerable, in language not dissimilar to the language used in Germany in the ’30s, and I’m out of order?”
“VIOLATION OF OUR POLICIES”
The BBC said the expert’s comments on Twitter were a “breach of our policies”.
Mr Lineker was later asked to step down from presenting Match Of The Day – which he has been doing since 1999 – pending a “clear position” on his use of social media.
It comes as ex-professional tennis player and LBC presenter Andrew Castle claimed Gary admitted on Thursday his comments were “a step too far”.
Speaking on his LBC show today, Mr Castle said: “I dated Gary Lineker for half a day and on Thursday I worked with him.
“I told him I was thinking of drawing the parallels between the rise of Nazism in government in the 1930s and early 1930s and the immigration policies of an incumbent Conservative Party, and he agreed.”
In a statement following the suspension of the veteran broadcaster, the BBC said they had “detailed discussions” with the 62-year-old ex-England star following the uproar.
While the Beeb praised his sports coverage as “unmatched”, they said he should “stay away from taking sides on partisan issues”.
The decision wreaked havoc on the BBC as Match Of The Day commentators, pundits and presenters all refused to go on the air in solidarity with Mr Lineker.
Ian Wright, Alan Shearer, Jermaine Jenas, Alex Scott, Mark Chapman and Micah Richards all refused to step in amid a growing mutiny among the workforce.
Football Focus, Final Score, the Fighting Talk podcast and 5Live’s 606 football phone were all frozen, and a staff riot brought down schedules.
It’s unclear if Match Of The Day 2 – which will air on Sunday – will take place.
We have made decisions and I have made decisions based on a real passion for what the BBC is and it’s difficult
Tim Davie, BBC Director General
The Sun on Sunday understands BBC boss Tim Davie is now locked in a standoff with Mr Lineker, who is refusing to back down in a row over his controversial tweets.
Crisis-stricken Davie told the BBC on Saturday there was “no way” he would be quitting amid a fallout that has brought the company to its knees.
Mr Davie described the looming disaster as a “difficult day” and apologized for the disruption to BBC sports programming.
Asked if he’s sorry for the way he’s handled the excitement, he told the BBC on Saturday: “We’ve made decisions and I’ve made decisions that are based on a real passion for what the BBC is and what it is is difficult.”
He insisted the series was about impartiality.
With his employer battling fires on all fronts, Mr Lineker took some time off today to watch his beloved Leicester City in action against Chelsea at the King Power Stadium.
The ex-England star was seen watching the Foxes alongside one of his sons – and appeared beaming despite his side’s 3-1 defeat.
The crisis came to a head late on Saturday when Prime Minister Rishi Sunak waded into the row and said the presenter’s suspension was a problem for the BBC, not him.
Mr Sunak said the chaos was “rightfully a matter” for the BBC, not the government.
He added that while he respects government policy that “not everyone always agrees”, he praised Mr Lineker for being a “great footballer and talented presenter”.
https://www.thesun.ie/sport/football/10368416/george-lineker-gary-match-of-the-day/ Gary Lineker will ‘never apologize, never back down’ on the BBC series – but will return to Match Of The Day, says son George