Gary Lineker “will not go back on his word,” according to his son.
Gary Lineker’s son has said he believes the presenter will return to Match Of The Day – but that he would reportedly not be “waiving his word”.
In an interview with The Sunday Mirror, the former England striker’s eldest son George claimed his father was “a bit disappointed” when the BBC asked him to step down from hosting Saturday’s Match Of The Day after speaking the language used to launch a new The government’s asylum seeker policy with 1930s Germany in a tweet.
However, he said Lineker had been “overwhelmed by the support” from other pundits who had withdrawn from various BBC sports shows in solidarity with him, particularly from his co-hosts Ian Wright and Alan Shearer.
George Lineker told The Sunday Mirror: “Dad is a good man, a good person and I’m proud of him because he’s true to his word. That’s why he was pulled from the show – because he didn’t want to apologize. But he will always stand up for people who have no voice.
“He is passionate about supporting refugee organizations – he has taken in two refugees who he is still in contact with and trying to help.
“It means a lot to him to stand up for people whose only hope is to escape a country with just their clothes on their backs. That’s why he was so tight.
“Will he return to Match of the Day? I think so – he loves Match of the Day. But he will never break his word.”
Saturday’s Match Of The Day only aired for 20 minutes and didn’t feature any accompanying commentary or expert analysis, or even its famous theme tune – instead only short highlight clips of the day’s matches were aired.
Ahead of the show, a Continuity announcer said: “Now on BBC One we are sorry that we are unable to show our normal Match Of The Day including commentary tonight. But here’s the best action from today’s Premier League games.”
Several of the channel’s other football programs were canceled at the last minute on Saturday when more presenters and reporters withdrew, and neither Football Focus nor Final Score were aired – while 5 Live’s radio coverage was radically altered throughout the day.
The BBC chief executive apologized for the disruption to the channel’s sports programming.
Tim Davie told BBC News in Washington, DC on Saturday: “I am so sorry for the disruption today. It was a difficult day and I’m sorry that the audience was affected and didn’t get the programme.
“As an avid sports fan, I know like everyone that missing the program is a real blow and I’m sorry for that. We are working very hard to resolve the situation and ensure we get the issue back on the air.”
The director-general said he would not go into too much detail to lead the discussions, but that “everyone wants to resolve the situation calmly”.
“I would say Gary Lineker is an excellent presenter. He’s the best in the business, there’s no question about that,” he added.
“To be clear, success for me is Gary getting back on the air and together we’re bringing the audience that world-class sports coverage that, as I said, unfortunately we weren’t able to deliver today.”
On Saturday Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement that the dispute over Lineker and the BBC “is their business, not the government” as he conceded that “not everyone will always agree with his new asylum policy”.
The BBC’s Sunday sports programming remains up in the air, with Match Of The Day 2 also in question after football pundit Jermain Defoe announced it would not appear.
The former England striker tweeted on Saturday: “It’s always such a privilege to work with BBC MOTD. But tomorrow I made the decision to step down from my duties as an expert witness. @GaryLineker.”
Further doubts were cast when sports broadcaster Mark Chapman, who is set to host Match Of The Day 2, was not present for 5 Live Sport on Saturday.
Gabby Logan will also be hosting live coverage from 2.15pm when Scotland play Ireland in the Six Nations at Murrayfield.
The Welsh presenter has not yet commented on whether or not she will be hosting the show.
The Women’s Football Show is also scheduled to air from 11.45pm for more than 40 minutes but could also be impacted by the BBC only airing “limited sports programming” this weekend.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/gary-lineker-george-lineker-bbc-ian-wright-rishi-sunak-b2298997.html Gary Lineker “will not go back on his word,” according to his son.