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11th Mar 2023

More Match of the Day team members pull out of show in solidarity with Gary Lineker

Steve Hopkins

The show must go on – with no presenter, pundits or commentators

More members of the Match of the Day (MOTD) team have pulled out of this weekend’s broadcast in solidarity with Gary Lineker as the BBC confirmed it will go ahead without a presenter, pundits or commentators.

On Friday, the broadcaster announced that Lineker would be “stepping back” from his hosting role on the football highlights show until they found an “agreed and clear position” on his use of social media.

The 62-year-old has been embroiled in a row over impartiality after comparing the language used to launch a new government asylum policy with 1930s Germany on Twitter.

In response to a Home Office video – in which home secretary Suella Braverman shared plans to stop migrants crossing the Channel on small boats – the former footballer wrote that the language used was “not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s”.

Following the BBC’s announcement, fellow MOTD presenters including Ian Wright and Alan Shearer pulled out. It has since been revealed that commentators including Steve Wilson, Conor McNamara, Robyn Rowen and Steven Wyeth will not appear.

In a joint statement the group wrote: “As commentators on MOTD, we have decided to step down from tomorrow night’s broadcast.

“We are comforted that football fans who want to watch their teams should still be able to do so, as management can use World Feed commentary if they wish.

“However, in the circumstances, we do not feel it would be appropriate to take part in the programme.”

A BBC spokesperson said: “Some of our pundits have said that they don’t wish to appear on the programme while we seek to resolve the situation with Gary.

“We understand their position and we have decided that the programme will focus on match action without studio presentation or punditry.”

Related links:

BBC confirms there will be no pundits or presenter on tomorrow’s Match of the Day

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

Gary Lineker slams FIFA for making Lionel Messi wear ‘little robe’

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