England great Lineker told to 'step back' from Match of the Day hosting role

By Sports Desk March 10, 2023

Gary Lineker will not present Match Of The Day on Saturday evening after the former England striker became involved in a political row, the BBC announced.

The 62-year-old will not host the hugely popular British football show until an agreement has been reached with the organisation over his social media use, after he criticised the UK government's new asylum policy on Tuesday.

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."

Lineker used Twitter to condemn the government policy, posting: "There is no huge influx. We take far fewer refugees than other major European countries. This is just an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s, and I'm out of order?"

Shortly after the BBC's announcement that Lineker would not be involved on Saturday, pundit and former Arsenal striker Ian Wright stated he would not be on the Premier League highlights show either, out of choice in his case.

"Everybody knows what Match of the Day means to me, but I've told the BBC I won't be doing it tomorrow [Saturday]. Solidarity," Wright posted on Twitter.

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