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10th Mar 2023

Gary Lineker to step back from presenting MOTD

Charlie Herbert

The BBC has released a statement

The BBC has said Gary Lineker will be stepping back from his presenting duties on Match of the Day until an agreement has been reached on his social media use.

Lineker has been at the centre of controversy in recent days after he compare the Home Office’s policy on small boat Channel crossings to “Germany in the 30s”

In a statement, the BBC said it considered Lineker’s recent social media activity to be a “breach of our guidelines”.

The corporation added he should “keep well away from taking sides on party political issues or political controversies”.

The Match of the Day presenter, who has 8.6 million followers on Twitter, commented on a video put out by home secretary Suella Braverman in which she unveiled new controversial plans to stop migrant boats crossing the Channel.

Responding to the plans, Lineker tweeted: “Good heavens, this is beyond awful.”

He then replied to a user who challenged him because it was “easy to pontificate when it doesn’t affect you”.

Lineker wrote: “There is no huge influx. We take far fewer refugees than other major European countries.

“This is just an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s, and I’m out of order?”

In the statement released on Friday regarding his Match of the Day hosting duties, the BBC said it had been in “extensive discussions with Gary and team in recent days” and “has decided that he will step back from presenting Match of the Day until we’ve got an agreed and clear position on his use of social media”.

It continued: “When it comes to leading our football and sports coverage, Gary is second to none.

“We have never said that Gary should be an opinion free zone, or that he can’t have a view on issues that matter to him, but we have said that he should keep well away from taking sides on party political issues or political controversies.”

It is not yet clear who may replace Lineker on tomorrow’s edition of the show.

Since the story broke though, Sky News has reported that the BBC statement is “incorrect” and that Lineker has not in fact “stepped back.”

They report that Lineker has actually been taken off air for refusing to apologise for his comments.

Following the initial tweet earlier this week, BBC said they would be ‘speaking’ to Lineker about his role and duties as a presenter for the corporation.

Lineker was to be “reminded of his responsibilities on social media” by the corporation following backlash from the Conservatives.

BBC source told The Daily Telegraph: “Gary will be spoken to and reminded of his responsibilities on social media.”

A spokesperson for the corporation added: “The BBC has social media guidance, which is published.

“Individuals who work for us are aware of their responsibilities relating to social media. We have appropriate internal processes in place if required.”

Lineker has not deleted any of the tweets from recent days.

It seems that the decision for Lineker to step back from his role on Match of the Day has come from the BBC, as opposed to the host himself. The day after the controversy, Lineker had tweeted to say that he would be hosting Match of the Day this Saturday.

He had also tweeted his thanks for the support he had received for his comments, and hit out at the “freedom of speech champions”.

Related links:

Gary Lineker ‘to be spoken to’ after comparing Government’s migrant plan to Nazi Germany

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