Latest Gary Lineker news: BBC star ‘will return to Match of the Day but won’t give up word’

Downing Street calls Gary Lineker’s criticism of asylum policy ‘unacceptable’

Gary Lineker’s son claims the BBC presenter will return to Match Of The Day – but believes he “won’t go back on his word,” according to reports.

“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 steadfast,” George Lineker said The Sunday Mirror.

Saturday’s episode of Match of the Day lasted “just 20 minutes” – with no presenter, pundits, commentary or interviews – after the fallout from the decision to take Gary Lineker off the air forced the BBC to severely curtailed highlights programming.

Ahead of the show, a Continuity announcer said: “Now on BBC One we are sorry we cannot show our normal Match Of The Day including commentary tonight.”

The news comes as BBC chief executive Tim Davie confirmed he would not be stepping down over the Gary Lineker franchise, calling Mr Lineker “the best in the business” speaking to the BBC’s Nomia Iqbal.

Lineker was embroiled in a dispute over impartiality after comparing the language used to introduce a new government asylum policy to 1930s Germany.


Gary Lineker “will not go back on his word,” says eldest son

Gary Lineker’s son has said he thinks the sports presenter will return to Match Of The Day – but that he reportedly wouldn’t “renounce his word”.

In an interview with The Sunday Mirror, the former England player’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 (MOTD) after he had compared the usual language Start a new government asylum seeker policy with the Germany of the 1930s 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However, he said Lineker had been “overwhelmed by the support” from other pundits who had withdrawn from various BBC sports shows in solidarity with him, particularly his MOTD co-hosts Ian Wright and Alan Shearer.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.”

Schweta SharmaMarch 12, 2023 5:30 am


Voices: ‘BBC boss should use the 20-minute silence of the match of the day to consider whether the dispute could have been handled worse’

The game of the day has certainly had its share of moments over the past sixty years, but none like this, writes Tom Pick.

The BBC had its share of embarrassments, too, but for the most part, at least, they took years, if not decades, to come out. That was real-time humiliation.

Emily AtkinsonMarch 12, 2023 08:50


Watch: BBC boss says Gary Lineker Fallout is a ‘real blow’ to programming

BBC boss says Gary Lineker Fallout is a ‘real blow’ to programming

Emily AtkinsonMarch 12, 2023 8:30 am


Family hope song in support of Gary Lineker sparks talks about impartiality

A family who wrote a viral song about the ‘Match Of The Day’ theme song in support of Gary Lineker hopes it sparks ‘worthwhile’ discussions about impartiality.

History lecturer Ben Marsh, 46, his wife Danielle, 45, an administrator, and their children – Alfie, 16, Thomas, 15, Ella, 13, and Tess, 11 – posted a video of their song to Twitter on Friday using the hashtag #IStandWithGary .

The video, which was uploaded to Twitter on Friday night and has more than 600,000 views and over 12,000 likes, features Ella on trumpet, Alfie on bass, Thomas on drums, Tess the Triangle and Mr Marsh on guitar.

Speaking to the PA news agency, Mr Marsh said: “It almost feels like something valuable could come out of the whole Gary Lineker episode because it’s ridiculous for the media and everyone to be so obsessed with a prominent athlete figure and not the substantive issue of migration policy, which should have had much more airtime.

“But now it feels like we’ve sort of gotten the Lineker thing over with — almost to a broader set of discussions about the public.”

Emily AtkinsonMarch 12, 2023 08:10


ICYM: The BBC’s reputation is ‘shot in the shell’, says Labor MP Richard Burgon

Richard Burgon – Labor MP for Leeds East – has described the BBC’s reputation as “shot to pieces” and took to Twitter to express his support for Gary Lineker.

“The BBC’s credibility has been destroyed in the last 24 hours,” the tweet said.

“Obviously, as part of the rebuild, Gary Lineker should be named Match of the Day again. But the BBC has much more to go on.

“BBC Chairman Richard Sharp, who donated £400,000 to the Tories, must go.”

Emily AtkinsonMarch 12, 2023 07:50


The decision to remove Gary Lineker from the Match of the Day was a mistake, says ex-BBC boss

The former BBC director-general said the decision to take Gary Lineker off the air was “a mistake”.

Asked whether Mr Lineker’s tweet about the government’s asylum seekers policy was acceptable, Greg Dyke told BBC Radio 4’s Today program: “We live in a world of free speech and therefore, yes. He didn’t air it on the BBC, it was a tweet he made privately.”

Mr Dyke continued: “I think what the BBC did yesterday was wrong. And I have never gone public in the years since I left the BBC to criticize the BBC’s leadership and the decisions they make because I know what a difficult job it is and difficult decisions need to be hit.”

But, he said, the precedent at the company is that “news and current affairs workers are expected to be impartial and not the others.”

Schweta SharmaMarch 12, 2023 07:30


Letters to the Editor: Gary Lineker should have the right to speak his mind

Read our letters to the editor on the Gary Lineker controversy.

Schweta SharmaMarch 12, 2023 06:30


Exclusive: BBC fears they can’t sack Lineker or force him to obey social media rules

The BBC fears it cannot fire Gary Lineker or force him to follow social media rules on impartiality due to ambiguities in his contract. The Independent understands.

The corporation would be forced to pay millions if it wanted to oust Lineker and would likely lose any legal title it had game of the day Moderator, senior figures believe.

Lineker, who was forced off the air after comparing the government’s asylum policy to the language of 1930s Germany, is said to have a two-year contract which was negotiated before current director-general Tim Davie was appointed.

My colleague Joe Middleton brings you an exclusive report.

Schweta SharmaMarch 12, 2023 4:24 am


Rishi Sunak hopes BBC dispute with Gary Lineker can be resolved but ‘not a government matter’

In a statement, Rishi Sunak said: “As Prime Minister, I must do what I see fit while respecting that not everyone will always agree. Because of this, 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 their business, not the government.”

However, following Mr Lineker’s Twitter remarks about the Government’s new illegal immigration policy, Downing Street branded the expert’s comments as “disappointing” and increased pressure on the BBC to act.

On Wednesday, the Prime Minister’s press secretary told reporters: “It is obviously disappointing to see someone whose salary is funded by hard-working British (royalty) payers using this type of rhetoric and seemingly raising legitimate concerns about crossing with small ones Booting dismisses and illegal migration.

My colleague Thomas Kingsley reports:

Eleanor NoyceMarch 12, 2023 02:00


How the Gary Lineker and Match-of-the-Day mayhem unfolded – and the impact it has on the BBC

The BBC and presenters planned to continue the day’s game as usual until Friday midday, before the broadcaster attempted to get Gary Lineker to agree to a solution deemed unacceptable by the flagship presenter. The company was still scrambling to find an alternative team as of Friday night after being turned down by a number of industry figures.

The Independent was told that the BBC hierarchy, via BBC Sport, wanted Lineker to agree to a public statement that would have been essentially an apology and a saying that he would be more cautious on social media, which sources close to the situation say rightly viewed as “self-humiliation” on the part of the presenter.

Consequently, it was the BBC’s decision to remove him from the match of the day. Lineker had already been in touch with Ian Wright when the former Arsenal striker told the host he would fully support him should things change and was ready to leave the show.

The BBC’s decision to remove Lineker from its flagship football highlights program caused a pundit boycott and left producers struggling to keep the show alive, reports said Miguel Delaney:

Eleanor NoyceMarch 12, 2023 01:00 Latest Gary Lineker news: BBC star ‘will return to Match of the Day but won’t give up word’

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