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Gary Lineker – latest: BBC talks with presenter ‘moving in right direction’ as disruption continues

According to BBC News, there are hopes a resolution will be reached soon but not all issues are ‘fully resolved’

Martha McHardy,Alisha Rahaman Sarkar
Monday 13 March 2023 04:29 GMT
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Downing Street brands Gary Lineker’s criticism of asylum policy ‘unacceptable’

Talks between BBC and Gary Lineker are believed to be “moving in the right direction” after a second day of disruption to the corporation’s sports programming.

There is “growing confidence” that the former England player will return to host the popular BBC show, according to reports,

According to BBC News, there are hopes a resolution will be reached soon but not all issues are “fully resolved.”

The Women’s Super League Chelsea v Manchester United game on BBC Two kicked off with no pre-match presentation and no pundits tonight.

BBC Radio 5 Live’s football phone-in programme 606 will also not air again tonight, according to Sky News.

Mr Lineker, who has hosted Match of the Day for almost a quarter of a century, has been embroiled in a row over impartiality after comparing the language used to launch a new government asylum policy with 1930s Germany.

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What did Gary Lineker tweet?

The BBC was sent into meltdown this weekend after presenters and pundits staged a mutiny in solidarity with Gary Lineker, who has been forced off air over a tweet about the government’s asylum crackdown.

Lineker, who has hosted Match of the Day for almost a quarter of a century, has been embroiled in a row over impartiality after comparing the language used to launch a new asylum policy with 1930s Germany.

The comparison saw Lineker suspended from the helm of the popular BBC show – prompting several fellow pundits, including Ian Wright, Alan Shearer, and Alex Scott, to announce they would not be taking part in solidarity with the former England striker.

More on this story here:

What did Gary Lineker tweet?

Lineker decries ‘immeasurably cruel policy’ in response to Suella Braverman’s immigration bill

Emily Atkinson12 March 2023 11:50
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Tory MP hails ‘best MOTD in years’ after Lineker pulled from BBC show

A Conservative MP hailed the “best Match of the Day episode in years” after Gary Lineker was pulled from the BBC show for criticising the government’s immigration policy.

Lineker was stood down from presenting BBC Sport’s flagship programme after a row with hierarchy over his comments on Twitter in which he compared the language used in the Tories’ new “stop the boats” policy with Germany in the 1930s.

Match of the Day went ahead in a reduced 20-minute highlights-only format without a studio presentation or post-match interviews after staff across a raft of the BBC’s sports coverage withdraw in solidarity with Lineker’s right to express his views.

Lawrence Ostlere has more:

Tory MP hails ‘best MOTD in years’ after Lineker pulled from BBC show

Match of the Day went ahead in a reduced format at its sister programme Match of the Day 2 is set to follow suit

Emily Atkinson12 March 2023 11:38
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BBC must maintain reputation for independence and impartiality, says Hunt

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has said he feels the main focus on the Gary Lineker row should be for the BBC to maintain its “reputation for independence and impartiality”.

The Conservative MP noted he is one of the figures that is scrutinised by the broadcaster on the behalf of the public and so thinks “obviously it isn’t for me to say how the BBC does that, but it’s very important it does”.

Appearing on BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, Mr Hunt said: “I don’t want to say anything other than making sure the BBC maintains its reputation for independence and impartiality is the outcome that matters most.

“Now, I can disagree with Gary Lineker on small boats, as I do profoundly. But what really matters in all of this is that when you’re interviewing me, people know that you’re doing it on behalf of the public, and not with a political motive … that is the thing that needs to be protected.”

Emily Atkinson12 March 2023 11:24
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Watch: BBC News presenter heckled by passerby on live TV shouting ‘bring back Gary Lineker’

Bbc News Presenter Heckled By Passerby On Live Tv Shouting 'Bring Back Gary Lineker'
Emily Atkinson12 March 2023 10:43
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BBC star’s comparison to 1930s Germany ‘deeply inappropriate and tasteless’, says Tory MP

Conservative MP Simon Clarke said he disagrees “very profoundly” with what Gary Lineker said in the tweet that sparked the row.

Speaking on BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, Mr Clarke said: “I disagree very profoundly with what Gary Lineker said. I think the comparisons to 1930s as he’s made are deeply inappropriate and actually very tasteless.”

Asked why it matters what a sports presenter says, the MP replied: “Mr Lineker has a huge reach and the reality is that he is obviously operating on a publicly-funded broadcaster, he is someone whose platform largely derives from his role at the BBC, he’s saying things which are partisan and I think which are also deeply unfair.”

He called the situation a “mess” and said the BBC needs to resolve “ambiguity” in its guidelines.

Mr Clarke continued: “I don’t like cancel culture of any kind, I don’t like to see people being taken off air.

“I think there is a slight irony here and a slight hypocrisy because obviously I wonder how many of the same people calling for Gary Lineker to be restored were calling for Jeremy Clarkson a few weeks ago to be removed.”

Emily Atkinson12 March 2023 10:30
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BBC chairman Richard Sharp faces calls to quit over Gary Lineker meltdown

BBC chairman Richard Sharp is facing growing calls to resign amid the Gary Lineker impartiality row which has sparked an unprecedented crisis at the corporation.

Roger Bolton, a former senior executive at the BBC, joined calls from opposition parties and senior media figures for Mr Sharp to quit.

Mr Bolton said the chairman was compromised by the investigation into whether he failed to properly share details of his involvement in facilitating an £800,000 loan for Boris Johnson when he was at No 10.

“The BBC chairman now needs to resign,” he told GB News. “The very fact that he can’t speak out on the subject and defend the BBC and define impartiality, as the chairman of the BBC, means he can’t do his job. So, I’m afraid he should go.”

More on this from our political correspondent Adam Forrest here:

BBC chairman Richard Sharp faces calls to quit over Gary Lineker meltdown

Sharp can’t ‘define impartiality’ because of Boris Johnson link probe, says ex-executive

Emily Atkinson12 March 2023 10:12
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Breaking: Match of the Day 2 and Women’s Super League match coverage to be ‘much reduced’

Both Match of the Day 2 and the coverage of the Women’s Super League match will follow a “much reduced” format today, according to a BBC editor.

Tweeting this morning, BBC Sports Editor Dan Roan, who gives an update on the channel’s schedules, said: “At this stage BBC expecting the planned Women’s Super League match between Chelsea and Manchester United this afternoon to be on BBC2, but with no pre-match presentation.

“Expecting Match of the Day 2 to follow similar much-reduced format to Match of the Day last night.”

Emily Atkinson12 March 2023 10:10
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Gary Lineker’s tweets a ‘technical breach’ of guidelines, says former BBC director general

Mark Thompson, former BBC director general, said he believes Gary Lineker’s tweets constitute a “technical breach” of the impartiality guidelines “on the face of it.”

He said the row sparked by the sports presenter’s remarks was a “very unhappy accident” that was now “distracting from the actual issue of the men, women and children in those boats.”

Emily Atkinson12 March 2023 09:58
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Labour accuses Tories of ‘putting pressure’ on BBC to take Gary Lineker off air

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has criticised Tory MPs for “putting pressure” on the BBC to take Gary Lineker off air.

She told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme: “I wouldn’t have used the language that Gary Lineker used. But do I think he should be taken off TV from doing commentary on the football? No, I don’t. And I think that was out of proportion.”

She said Tory MPs had nothing to say when BBC chairman Richard Sharp was found to have helped facilitate a loan for Boris Johnson.

Ms Reeves added: “The people who I think are at fault here are the Conservative MPs and ministers who lined up to criticise Gary Lineker, putting pressure on the BBC to take him off air.

“That is the priority now of the Conservatives - some culture war, rather than the interests and the concerns of people in their day-to-day lives. That is just all wrong.”

Emily Atkinson12 March 2023 09:43
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Hunt rows back from demanding Linker apology

Jeremy Hunt has rowed back from demanding an apology for Gary Lineker’s comments.

Asked if he still thought the TV pundit should apologise, the Chancellor told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme: “I don’t agree with his comments and I personally think that he was wrong to say what he said, but I don’t think it’s for me to decide how that issue is resolved.”

“If you believe in BBC independence, then it’s not for the chancellor or any other government minister to say how these issues are resolved.”

Asked whether the corporation’s leadership is too close to the party of Government, Mr Hunt said it was not for him “to make those judgments”.

Emily Atkinson12 March 2023 09:30

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