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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
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.


‘People’s confidence’ should be restored in BBC, says chancellor

The chancellor said “people’s confidence” should be restored in knowing the BBC has no “political agenda” when he was asked about the Gary Lineker row.

Jeremy Hunt, speaking to Sophy Ridge on Sunday on Sky News, said he “personally profoundly disagree(s)” with the comments the TV pundit made.

But, he said, “we need to make sure that what comes out of this is that people’s confidence in the impartiality of the BBC is restored”.

He denied that the public’s confidence in this has been compromised by the dispute, adding: “The central thing that people want to know is that there isn’t any kind of political agenda in the way the BBC goes about its business, which I’m not saying there is, but that is the confidence people need to have.”

Emily Atkinson12 March 2023 09:10

Voices: ‘BBC boss should use Match of the Day’s 20-minute silence to consider if row could have been handled any worse'

Match of the Day has certainly had its share of moments, in the last sixty years, but none like this, writes Tom Peck.

The BBC have had its share of embarrassments too, but at least for the most part, they’ve taken years if not decades to come out. This was a humiliation in real time.

MOTD’s 20-minute silence shows row couldn’t have been handled any worse

Sports fans are used to silences usually lasting just sixty seconds but this 20-minutes felt like a lifetime, Tom Peck writes

Emily Atkinson12 March 2023 08:50

Watch: BBC boss says Gary Lineker fallout is 'real blow' to programming

BBC boss says Gary Lineker fallout is 'real blow' to programming
Emily Atkinson12 March 2023 08:30

Family hope song in support of Gary Lineker sparks conversations over impartiality

A family who have penned a viral song over the Match Of The Day theme tune in support of Gary Lineker hope it generates “worthwhile” discussions about impartiality.

History lecturer Ben Marsh, 46, his wife Danielle, 45, an administrator, and their children - Alfie, 16, Thomas, 15, Ella, 13, and Tess, 11 - posted a video of their song to Twitter on Friday, with the hashtag #IStandWithGary.

The video - which was uploaded to Twitter on Friday night and has more than 600,000 views and over 12,000 likes - sees Ella playing the trumpet, Alfie, the bass, Thomas, the drum, Tess the triangle and Mr Marsh playing the guitar.

Speaking to the PA news agency, Mr Marsh said: “It almost feels like something worthwhile may come out of the whole Gary Lineker episode because it is ridiculous for the media and everyone to be so obsessed with one celebrity sporting figure and not the substantive issue of migration policy which should have had much more airtime.

“But now it feels like we’ve kind of come through the Lineker thing - almost to a wider set of discussions about the public sphere.”

Emily Atkinson12 March 2023 08:10

ICYM: BBC’s reputation ‘shot to pieces’, says Labour MP Richard Burgon

Richard Burgon - Labour MP for Leeds East - has labelled the BBC’s reputation as being “shot to pieces”, expressing his support for Gary Lineker via Twitter.

“The BBC’s credibility has been shot to pieces in the past 24 hours”, the tweet read.

“As part of rebuilding that, Gary Lineker should, of course, be reinstated to Match of the Day. But the BBC must go much further.

“The BBC Chair Richard Sharp, who’s donated £400,000 to the Tories, needs to go.”

Emily Atkinson12 March 2023 07:50

Decision to take Gary Lineker off Match of the Day was mistaken, says ex-BBC boss

The former director-general of the BBC said the decision to take Gary Lineker off air was “mistaken”.

Asked whether Mr Lineker’s tweet over the government’s asylum seeker policy was acceptable, Greg Dyke told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We live in a world of freedom of speech and therefore, yes. He didn’t broadcast it on the BBC, it was a tweet he did privately.”

Mr Dyke went on to say: “I think what the BBC did yesterday was mistaken. And I’ve over the years since I left the BBC never gone public criticising the leadership of the BBC and the decisions they take, because I know what a difficult job it is, and difficult decisions have to be taken.”

But, he said, the precedent at the corporation is that “news and current affairs employees are expected to be impartial and not the rest”.

Shweta Sharma12 March 2023 07:30

Letters to the editor: Gary Lineker should have the right to express his views

Read our letters to the editor on the Gary Lineker controversy.

Letters: Gary Lineker should have the right to express his views

Letters to the editor: our readers share their views. Please send your letters to

Shweta Sharma12 March 2023 06:30

Gary Lineker ‘will not back down on his word’, eldest son says

Gary Lineker‘s son has said he thinks the sports presenter will return to Match Of The Day - but that he would not “back down on his word”, according to reports.

In an interview with The Sunday Mirror, the former England player’s eldest son George claimed his father had been “a bit disappointed” by the BBC asking him to step back from hosting Saturday’s Match Of The Day (MOTD) after he compared the language used to launch a new Government asylum seeker policy with 1930s Germany in a tweet.

However, he said Lineker had been “overwhelmed by the support” of fellow pundits who had withdrawn from various BBC sports shows in solidarity with him, particularly his MOTD co-presenters Ian Wright and Alan Shearer.

George Lineker told The Sunday Mirror: “Dad is a good man, a good human, and I’m proud of him for standing by his word. That’s why he was pulled off the show - because he wouldn’t apologise. But he will always speak up for people who don’t have a voice.

“He is passionate about helping refugee charities - he took in two refugees who he is still in touch with and trying to help.

“It means a lot to him to stand up for people whose only hope is to escape a country with only the clothes on their back. That’s why he’s been so firm.

“Will he go back to Match of the Day? I think so - he loves Match of the Day. But he won’t ever back down on his word.”

Shweta Sharma12 March 2023 05:30

Exclusive: BBC fears it cannot sack Lineker or force him to follow social media rules

The BBC fears it cannot sack Gary Lineker or force him to follow social media rules on impartiality because of ambiguities in his contract, The Independent understands.

The corporation would be forced to pay millions if they wanted to oust Lineker and would probably lose any legal claim brought by the Match of the Day presenter, senior figures believe.

Lineker, who was forced off air after comparing the government’s asylum policy to language used in 1930s Germany, is understood to be on a two-year contract negotiated before current director general Tim Davie was appointed.

My colleague Joe Middleton brings you an exclusive report.

BBC fears it cannot sack Lineker or force him to follow social media rules

Exclusive: Presenter is on a two-year contract negotiated before current director general was appointed

Shweta Sharma12 March 2023 04:24

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