BBC left with no one for Match of the Day | Soccer

For the first time in probably a long time, Gary Lineker took to football solely as a fan. This Saturday, the former British international went to the King Power Stadium, accompanied by his son, to see his Leicester City against Chelsea, released from work as a presenter and commentator by the BBC, which suspended him for his comments on Twitter criticizing the immigration policy from the government. British public television understood that Lineker had gone too far on the social network and suspended him indefinitely, but it has created a problem for itself: it cannot find anyone to replace Lineker, who is the BBC’s most popular presenter, as the face of the emblematic Match of the Day (MOTD) program.

Many of the other BBC sports commentators have declined to be on the next MOTD in solidarity with Gary Lineker. Ian Wright, Alan Shearer and Alex Scott went on strike and the BBC, with no one to appear on the show, decided to cut the time MOTD will be on air to just 20 minutes (one hour less than usual), with summaries of Premier League matches, but no commentary or even summaries reported – the BBC is barred from using the Premier League commentary feed. The BBC also missed out on quick interviews with players and coaches at the end of games.

All of this follows a message from Lineker on the social network Twitter comparing the UK’s new immigration policy to Germany in the 1930s. The BBC was not happy, understanding that the message violated its editorial principles, and asked the former forward to go back on his comments, which he did not. Lineker has been the target of criticism by several members of the government and members of the Conservative Party, but, in the same measure, he has also received numerous messages of support, including from Jurgen Klopp, manager of Liverpool.

“I’m not a native, but I don’t see any reason to ask someone to take it back for saying what he said. This is the world we live in. Everyone is so concerned about doing things right and saying the right things to everyone. It’s a difficult world we live in, having to live up to everyone’s expectations, especially in public. And I can’t say more about that”, said the German coach after Liverpool’s defeat against Bournemouth.

Lineker, 62, is one of the UK’s most popular personalities. Former Leicester, Everton, Tottenham and Barcelona forward, Lineker embraced a media career after leaving the pitch in 1994, always at the service of the BBC, and with collaborations with other international channels. Lineker is the BBC’s highest paid personality – he earned over £1.3m in 2021/22. And he makes no secret of his views on politics and other topics.

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