‘Totally disproportionate’: Gary Lineker discusses small boats row in first TV appearance since BBC suspension

‘Support from friends and colleagues was quite beautiful,’ says football presenter

Jane Dalton
Friday 17 March 2023 19:50 GMT
Gary Lineker says support over BBC row is 'hugely gratifying'

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Football presenter Gary Lineker has condemned the row over his suspension by the BBC because of his tweets as “totally disproportionate”.

But he said he received a large amount of support during his dispute with the BBC, which had been gratifying and “quite beautiful”.

It comes as the TV star’s agent said he believed he had a “special arrangement” with the broadcaster that allowed him to make comments about refugees and the small boats crisis.

The BBC suspended Lineker, preventing him from hosting Saturday’s Match of the Day after he compared the language used to launch a new government asylum-seeker policy to that in 1930s Germany in a tweet.

The corporation argued that as a high-profile presenter he should show political impartiality.

It led to a boycott of the show by several regular commentators.

He was reinstated after urgent talks, with BBC director-general Tim Davie saying Lineker would “abide by the editorial guidelines” until a review of the BBC’s social media policy was complete.

In his first television appearance since the row, Lineker said: “You could say it’s been an interesting week but I’m still here, still punching.”

Asked about the row by LaLiga TV he said: “It was interesting and also hugely gratifying.

“I had an amazing amount of support from my friends and colleagues, which was quite beautiful, actually.

“It was totally disproportionate, the whole thing.

“But we’re OK. It’s resolved, we’re relieved and back to work tomorrow and all is well with the world.”

When asked how his week had been going, he initially joked: “Really quiet, nothing much going on.”

Gary Lineker’s son said he thought his father would not back down over his views, according to reports.

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