Premier League players in talks about joining Match of the Day boycott in solidarity with Gary Lineker
The game of the day faces a blackout of players and managers as well as pundits, commentators and moderators as the aftermath of Gary Lineker’s story continues.
A number of Premier League clubs have major reservations about allowing their employers to speak to the scheme. Lineker was taken off the air in a situation that “changed in minutes” after the former England striker refused to agree to the BBC hierarchy’s terms over his tweet on the government’s immigration policy.
The main reason for a potential boycott is solidarity, which forced the football highlights show to continue on Saturday without expert knowledge or presenters, but it’s another element to this move into the political.
Seeking unity with ex-pros like Lineker, Ian Wright and Alan Shearer, many players have turned to the Professional Footballers Association for opportunities.
Fines could be imposed for non-compliance with broadcasting obligations, but the PFA is understood by its members to support such a stance.
On a secondary level, there were also concerns at some clubs that their coaches and players would almost constitute a ‘political act’ at the match of the day.
Match of the Day commentators joined the strike late Friday night, potentially leaving the country’s flagship program in a position of no description, analysis or interviews.
A joint statement from the group, which includes regular commentators such as Steve Wilson and Conor McNamara, said: “It would not be appropriate to participate in the program.”
This contributed to the revolt that followed the BBC’s decision to remove Lineker from his presenting duties after the former England international’s criticism of the government’s new asylum policy breached its impartiality guidelines.
Wright and Shearer announced they would not be appearing on Match of the Day as planned out of solidarity, while Micah Richards, Jermaine Jenas and Alex Scott also ruled out appearing on the show.
It has forced Match of the Day to take the unprecedented step of announcing that the program will “focus on match action with no studio presentation or expert knowledge.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/match-of-the-day-bbc-gary-lineker-b2298560.html Premier League players in talks about joining Match of the Day boycott in solidarity with Gary Lineker