Match of the Day to go ahead ‘without studio presentation or punditry’ after Gary Lineker removed | UK News
Match of the Day will go ahead as planned on Saturday but without “studio presentation or punditry”, and will instead focus on “match action”, the BBC has said.
Gary Lineker has been forced off his Match of the Day duties by the BBC in a row over impartiality after comparing the language used to launch a new government asylum policy with 1930s Germany.
He is stepping back from Match of the Day (MOTD) until an “agreed and clear position” on his social media use is made, the corporation said on Friday.
Since the BBC’s announcement, several football pundits – including Ian Wright and Alan Shearer – have pulled out of appearing on tomorrow night’s programme.
Shearer tweeted: “I have informed the BBC that I won’t be appearing on MOTD tomorrow night”, while Wright had posted: “Everybody knows what Match of the Day means to me, but I’ve told the BBC I won’t be doing it tomorrow. Solidarity.”
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.”
Former Arsenal player Alex Scott appeared to rule herself out of possibly presenting the programme by posting a GIF with the words “Nah! Not me”.
Meanwhile, football pundits Micah Richards and Jermaine Jenas also made clear they would not be interested in being pundits on the show, with Jenas saying he would have “said no” if he was asked.
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It sparked the hashtag #Solidarity and MOTD to trend on Twitter, with thousands sharing their thoughts and many joking about who would be left to appear on the show.
“I have informed the BBC that I am very much available for tomorrow’s #MOTD,” comedian Joe Lycett tweeted, which received tens of thousands of likes.
A parody Twitter account for Larry, the Downing Street cat, joked that the feline had turned down a presenting offer from the BBC.
“I can confirm that I have refused the BBC’s offer to present Match of the Day tomorrow,” @Number10cat tweeted.
Journalist Alastair Campbell suggested BBC chairman Richard Sharp might need to step in, writing: “Can’t wait for MotD tomorrow. Presented by Richard Sharp with punditry by Robbie Gibb and Isabel Oakeshott.”
Sir Robbie Gibb is a member of the BBC board and Theresa May’s former director of communications, while journalist Oakeshott has been in the news recently for leaking former health secretary Matt Hancock’s WhatsApp messages to The Daily Telegraph.
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Some social media users suggested the BBC may decide to cancel MOTD altogether and opt for an alternative programme.
“Homes Under The Hammer is about to have its first outing at 22:20 tomorrow,” tweeted weather presenter Alex Beresford.
Earlier on Friday, the BBC said it had 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 added.
Speaking to reporters outside his London home on Thursday, Lineker insisted he stood by his criticism of the government and was not worried about being suspended from the BBC.
His initial controversial tweet saw him compare the language used to announce the government’s policy with 1930s Germany.