BBC asks Gary Lineker to temporarily ‘step back’ as Match of the Day presenter
The 62-year-old former England striker has presented the flagship football show since 1999.
The BBC has just announced that it has asked Gary Lineker to “step back” from presenting Match of the Day.
Until a “clear position on his use of social media” is agreed, the broadcaster has confirmed that the 62-year-old former England striker – who is freelance broadcaster for BBC Sport – will not present the flagship football show.
Lineker has been the lead presenter on Match of the Day since 1999.
The broadcaster said in a statement released this afternoon: “The BBC has been in extensive discussions with Gary and his team in recent days.
“We have said that we consider his recent social media activity to be a breach of our guidelines.”
The statement continues: “The BBC 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.
“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.”
The BBC’s move to suspend Lineker comes after the former professional footballer has been at the forefront of several days of intense scrutiny and debate over his Twitter posts criticising the UK government’s asylum seeker policy.
His initial tweet saw him compare the language used to announce the government’s policy with that of 1930s Germany – which went on to spark a row over whether he broke BBC impartiality rules.
In the wake of the tweets, however, Lineker later said that he had “never known such love and support” from the public in response, adding that aside from his England World Cup goals, “I want to thank each and every one of you. It means a lot.
“I’ll continue to try and speak up for those poor souls that have no voice.”
Featured Image – BBC