Dubai: Sanity has prevailed. Gary Lineker will be back on air to front the BBC’s FA Cup coverage next Saturday after reaching an agreement with the broadcaster. https://gulfnews.com/sport/football/bbc-needs-to-bring-lineker-back-to-host-match-of-the-day-1.94411567I still don’t believe he should not have been suspended in the first place but thankfully this issue has now been nipped in the bud with the BBC apologising for the episode and announcing an independent review into its social media usage guidelines.
The former England captain had faced criticism after tweeting his views on the UK government’s Illegal Migration Bill. The 62-year-old said the language used by the government was similar to that used by Germany in the 1930s. His tweet to his 8.7 million followers was deemed a breach of the BBC’s impartiality guidelines, leading to speculation over whether the former Barcelona striker would continue to be allowed to express his political views on social media.
Thankfully, the BBC has confirmed Lineker will return to host Match of the Day but details of the agreement are yet to be disclosed. If he is allowed to continue expressing his views on social media, it will be seen as a major victory for him but the broadcaster’s impartiality rules may require him to refrain from expressing political opinions publicly in the future.
The BBC requires its staff to “avoid taking sides on political controversies” and to “take care when addressing public policy matters”. Lineker’s tweets were deemed to have breached these guidelines, leading to speculation over his future with the broadcaster. Lineker - is employed by the BBC’s on a freelance basis - has hosted the football show since 1999 and is their highest paid star, having earned about £1.35 million in 2020-21.
The crisis caused by his tweets resulted in significant disruption. When the BBC announced on Friday that Lineker would “step back” from hosting the weekly football highlights programme it sparked a backlash with pundits Ian Wright and Alan Shearer refusing to appear on the show and several other football presenters, pundits and commentators following suit. As a result Match Of The Day was shortened to just 20 minutes on Saturday, without commentary or theme music. Match Of The Day 2 on Sunday was similarly shortened and presented without commentary or presenters while other football-related shows were cancelled.
The situation has been described as a “difficult day” for the 100-year-old broadcaster, with Director General Tim Davie apologizing for the disruption to sports programming but with an apology now issued the matter can be put to bed and Lineker can return to host the show.