Match of the Day 2 and Women’s Super League are set to be “severely reduced,” BBC says


Day 2 and the Women’s Super League will follow a “heavily reduced” format on Sunday, the BBC has said.

BBC sports editor Dan Roan gave an update after the ongoing row over Gary Lineker’s suspension, which has sparked a mass boycott of the BBC by pundits, players and managers.

Mr Roan tweeted: “At this point in time the BBC expects to see the scheduled women’s Super League game between Chelsea and Manchester United this afternoon on BBC2 but with no pre-match presentation.

“I expect Match of the Day 2 to follow a similar heavily discounted format as last night’s Match of the Day.”

It comes after former Spurs star Jermain Defoe retired from his pundit duties in tonight’s Match of the Day 2.

BBC One broadcast a stripped-down Premier League highlights show on Saturday after Lineker stepped down as presenter.

Match of the Day was replaced with an abbreviated highlights reel with no commentary or studio pundits.

The show’s length was reduced from 80 to 20 minutes and did not feature the usual theme music or graphics.

The show was watched by 2.6 million viewers, nearly half a million more than last week’s show, which had 2.1 million viewers overnight, according to BARB figures.

The BBC announced on Friday that it was temporarily releasing Lineker from presenting duties after he criticized the government’s migration policy in an apparent breach of impartiality guidelines.

It sparked a wave of boycotts from other pundits and presenters, including Ian Wright and Alan Shearer, who withdrew from Saturday’s show.

BBC programming was disrupted as 5Live’s Football Focus, Final Score and Fighting Talk programs were unable to air.

In an interview with the Sunday Mirror, Gary Lineker’s son George said his father would “not go back on his word”.

He said: “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.”

On Saturday, BBC Director General Tim Davie apologized for the disruption to the channel’s sports programming.

Speaking to BBC News in Washington, DC, he said: “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.” Match of the Day 2 and Women’s Super League are set to be “severely reduced,” BBC says

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