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Monday, March 20, 2023

News24.com | BBC reaches deal with Gary Lineker after Twitter row

Gary Lineker (Photo by Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty Images)

  • English football legend Gary Lineker will return to host and present the Match of the Day show after reaching a deal with BBC.
  • Lineker was forced to “step back” from presenting until an agreement is reached on his use of social media.
  • This follows his criticism of the British government’s new asylum policy.

Gary Lineker will return as presenter of flagship BBC football show Match of the Day, the broadcaster said Monday, ending a crisis sparked by his criticism of the UK government’s new asylum policy.

WATCH | Booted from BBC: What’s the Gary Lineker controversy all about?

“Gary is a valued part of the BBC and I know how much the BBC means to Gary, and I look forward to him presenting our coverage this coming weekend,” said BBC director-general Tim Davie.

The former England footballer was removed after using Twitter to compare the language used to launch the new policy to the rhetoric of Nazi-era Germany.

Fellow presenters, pundits and commentators then refused to work over the weekend in support, throwing the broadcaster’s sports coverage into disarray.

Lineker tweeted on Monday that “I cannot wait to get back in the MOTD chair on Saturday.

“However difficult the last few days have been, it simply doesn’t compare to having to flee your home from persecution or war to seek refuge in a land far away,” he added.

Davie apologised for the disruption to the service, saying he recognised the “potential confusion caused by the grey areas of the BBC’s social media guidance. 

“Impartiality is important to the BBC. That is a difficult balancing act to get right where people are subject to different contracts and on air positions, and with different audience and social media profiles,” he said.

An independent review into the guidance will be conducted, including how it applies to freelancers such as Lineker, he added. 

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