Human Interest

Lineker set for Match of the Day return after agreement with BBC

London, Mar 13 (EFE).- Former football player Gary Lineker will return to his role as the presenter of the BBC’s highly popular Match of the Day after reaching an agreement Monday with the organization, which suspended the celebrity over tweets criticizing the British government’s controversial new migrant policy.

Match of the Day was aired on Saturday evening without commentary or punditry after Lineker’s colleagues also pulled out of the show in solidarity following a decision by the BBC that has cast a spotlight on its impartiality rules and its top brass.

“Gary is a valued part of the BBC and I know how much the BBC means to Gary, and I look forward to him presenting our coverage this coming weekend,” Tim Davie, the BBC’s director-general, said in a statement.

“Everyone recognises this has been a difficult period for staff, contributors, presenters and, most importantly, our audiences. I apologise for this. The potential confusion caused by the grey areas of the BBC’s social media guidance that was introduced in 2020 is recognised. I want to get matters resolved and our sport content back on air,” Davie said.

He added that there would be an independent review into the BBC’s social media guidelines.

Lineker, a former England and Barcelona star, was suspended for a tweet in which he compared the language used by the UK government in its presentation of tough new migrant laws to that used in 1930s Germany, alluding to the Nazi regime.

In a series of tweets posted on Monday, Lineker said: “After a surreal few days, I’m delighted that we have navigated a way through this. I want to thank you all for the incredible support, particularly my colleagues at BBC Sport, for the remarkable show of solidarity. Football is a team game but their backing was overwhelming.

“I have been presenting sport on the BBC for almost 3 decades and am immeasurably proud to work with the best and fairest broadcaster in the world. I cannot wait to get back in the MOTD chair on Saturday.”

He added: “A final thought: however difficult the last few days have been, it simply doesn’t compare to having to flee your home from persecution or war to seek refuge in a land far away. It’s heartwarming to have seen the empathy towards their plight from so many of you.”

Lineker also thanked Tim Davie for his “understanding” during the “difficult period.”

The debacle arose after the former player criticized plans presented by the British government to detain and deport all migrants who arrive to the UK via small boats across the English Channel.

The row over the tweets raised questions about the influence of the Conservative Party government over the BBC, a public broadcaster that is funded by the taxpayer. EFE


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