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11th Mar 2023

Ex-BBC boss says axing Gary Lineker was ‘mistaken’


‘He didn’t broadcast it on the BBC’

The former director-general of the BBC has slammed the broadcaster’s decision to take Gary Lineker off the air over a tweet critical of the government.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Greg Dyke was asked whether the Match of the Day host’s tweet was acceptable.

“We live in a world of freedom of speech and therefore, yes,” he answered.

“He (Linker) didn’t broadcast it on the BBC, it was a tweet he did privately.”

Lineker was asked to step down from his role as host of the football highlights show after the corporation took issue with a tweet he published about migrant workers, and comparing the current government to that of Germany’s in the 1930s.

After he refused to make an apologetic statement on the show regarding his comments, the BBC made the decision to leave him off the show.

The ex-BBC boss continued, “I think what the BBC did yesterday was mistaken. And I’ve over the years since I left the BBC never gone public criticising the leadership of the BBC and the decisions they take, because I know what a difficult job it is, and difficult decisions have to be taken.”

Following the announcement that Lineker wouldn’t be on the show, multiple co-hosts and commentators refused to take part in the programme out of solidarity.

Fellow MOTD presenters including Ian Wright and Alan Shearer pulled out along with commentators including Steve Wilson, Conor McNamara, Robyn Rowen and Steven Wyeth will not appear.

On Saturday morning Alex Scott, host of Football Focus, decided to also pull out of her duties, creating even more hassle for the BBC.

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