Gary Lineker to return as host of Match of the Day: BBC apologises for ‘confusion by grey areas’
Match Of The Day host Gary Lineker will continue as a BBC presenter after the corporation apologised for a “difficult period for staff, contributors, presenters, and most importantly, our audiences”.
A host of sports presenters and pundits pulled out of BBC shows at the weekend after the former England striker was told to step back from hosting the show in a row over impartiality.
The 62-year-old was taken off air for a tweet comparing the language used to launch a new Government asylum seeker policy with 1930s Germany.
BBC Director-General Tim Davie confirmed Lineker will continue as the host of Match Of The Day, saying: “Everyone recognises this has been a difficult period for staff, contributors, presenters and, most importantly, our audiences. I apologise for this.
“The potential confusion caused by the grey areas of the BBC’s social media guidance that was introduced in 2020 is recognised. I want to get matters resolved and our sport content back on air.”
In a statement issued on Twitter, Lineker described the past few days as “surreal”, and thanked his fellow BBC Sport colleagues for their “remarkable show of solidarity”.
He also appeared to address the issue of migration again, saying his difficult weekend “doesn’t compare to having to flee your home from persecution or war to seek refuge in a land far away”.
“We remain a country of predominantly tolerant, welcoming and generous people. Thank you,” he said.
Mr Davie said Lineker “will abide by the editorial guidelines” until a review of the BBC’s social media policy is complete.
In his statement, he said: “We are announcing a review led by an independent expert – reporting to the BBC – on its existing social media guidance, with a particular focus on how it applies to freelancers outside news and current affairs.
“The BBC and myself are aware that Gary is in favour of such a review.
“Shortly, the BBC will announce who will conduct that review. Whilst this work is undertaken, the BBC’s current social media guidance remains in place.
“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.”
Press Association – Josh Payne