GARY Lineker is to “step back” from presenting ‘Match of the Day’ for the foreseeable future.
The 62-year-old former footballer has fronted the BBC sports commentary programme since 1999 but following his controversial tweets – in which criticised Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s asylum policy and likened the language used by ministers to “that used by Germany in the 30s” – and now the broadcaster has decided that he will not be seen on screen again until they have reached a “clear agreement” on what his “use of social media” actually means.
In a statement, the BBC said: “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 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.”
Just hours before the announcement, the former Leicester City FC star branded the backlash as an “out of proportion” story and was “looking forward” to returning to his usual Saturday slot on BBC One.
He tweeted: “Happy that this ridiculously out of proportion story seems to be abating and very much looking forward to presenting [Match of the Day] on Saturday. Thanks again for all your incredible support. It’s been overwhelming…”