Former England striker Ian Wright has announced he is to leave Match of the Day at the end of the current season.

The 60-year-old pundit has revealed his decision to step back from “the most iconic football show in the world” to “do a few more different things with my Saturdays”.

Wright said on his official X – formerly Twitter – account: “After my debut show whilst still a player in 1997 and many more memorable years, I’ll be stepping back from BBC MOTD at the end of this season.

“I feel very privileged to have had such an incredible run on the most iconic football show in the world.

“I’m stepping back having made great friends and many great memories. This decision has been coming for a while – maybe my birthday earlier this year fast-tracked it a little – but ultimately it’s time to do a few more different things with my Saturdays.

“I’m really looking forward to my last months on the show and covering what will hopefully be an amazing Premier League title race.”

Wright first appeared on the BBC show in 1997 during his distinguished playing days at Arsenal and became a regular in 2002 two years after his retirement from the game.

On his first appearance, he told presenter Des Lynam the programme was his “Graceland”, and his enduring passion for football has been abundantly clear since.

Manchester City boss Gareth Taylor wants improved communication between players and officials following Sunday’s controversial draw with Chelsea in which he felt the referee handed out bookings “like confetti”.

City looked the brighter side and had taken a 1-0 lead via Chloe Kelly’s deflected seventh-minute strike, but late in the first half referee Emily Heaslip decided Alex Greenwood had been time-wasting after taking 26 seconds to take a free-kick and dismissed the bewildered captain with a second yellow.

It was an encounter with potential title implications that ultimately saw 10 yellows issued, including a second to Lauren Hemp 15 minutes before Guro Reiten’s stoppage-time equaliser, with the decision against Greenwood in particular lambasted on social media and criticised by big names including Ian Wright and Beth Mead.

Taylor, who himself was booked in the second half, said: “We submit a report which normally is fairly straightforward.

“I think this one will be quite an interesting one, just in terms of some of the feedback I’ve had from the players as well, in terms of the communication back and forth from the officials.

“Everyone makes mistakes. I think owning those mistakes at times is is much easier to handle, because we all do it, and I think it’s just a little bit easier if we get that communication between us, which is really important, so that we can create – not necessarily accountability – but we can create communication between us and go, we’re seeing it as this and you guys are seeing it slightly differently, who is right or wrong here? 

“It’s important we get the feedback. Let’s see what we hear back.”

City, who also unsuccessfully appealed a three-match ban for Leila Ouahabi, sent off in their season opener, next travel to Everton on Wednesday to kick off their FA Cup campaign, a competition Taylor insisted “is not something to be sniffed at”.

City are looking to qualify for Champions League football again after narrowly missing out with a fourth-place WSL finish last year, with success against top sides like Chelsea critical in the short 22-match season.

While Taylor suggested Sunday’s decisions “went against us, it always seems to be against us and not Chelsea”, he conceded the first yellow of the game, shown to Blues forward Lauren James, was “harsh, and the next thing you know, before you know it, they’re handing them out like confetti”.

He also brushed aside theories that his side were less disciplined than Hayes’, adding: “They always seem to talk around that their discipline is much higher, but I don’t think there was any ill discipline from us at all.

“It was a real anomaly of the game and it forced us into a really, really difficult situation which the players coped with so well.

“I’ve been so impressed with the players and the way they manage that.

“To put four points on the board in both of those games, when you lose players, has been amazing.”

Saturday's Match of the Day will have a new format without a host or studio pundits after Ian Wright, Alan Shearer and other leading names backed presenter Gary Lineker.

The BBC announced on Friday that Lineker would not be involved in this week's edition of the hugely popular British football show after he became involved in a political row following a Twitter post.

Lineker would be absent from Match of the Day "until we've got an agreed and clear position on his use of social media", the BBC said, but it soon became clear he had the support of a number of colleagues.

Wright and Shearer, the show's two leading pundits who were due to feature on Saturday, announced they had told the BBC they would not be appearing.

As Micah Richards, Jermaine Jenas and Alex Scott joined the pair in standing by Lineker, the BBC's options for an alternative line-up became increasingly thin.

Ultimately, a statement from the broadcaster appeared to acknowledge it had not been possible to put a studio team together.

"Some of our pundits have said that they don't wish to appear while we seek to resolve the situation with Gary," it read.

"We understand their position and have decided that the programme will focus on match action without studio presentation or punditry."

Lineker had criticised the UK government's new asylum policy, comparing language being used by current politicians to the voices expressed in Nazi Germany.

Condemning the policy, the former England striker posted: "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?"

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.

Paul Scholes and Didier Drogba lead the latest slate of inductees to the Premier League Hall of Fame, it was announced on Thursday.

Former Manchester United midfielder Scholes and ex-Chelsea striker Drogba head the remaining six names of the Class of 2022.

Patrick Vieira and Wayne Rooney had already been announced as two of the eight players to be bestowed with the honour, following last year's inaugural group of players.

They are joined now by Scholes and Drogba, alongside Arsenal legend Ian Wright, ex-Red Devils goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel and Manchester City duo Sergio Aguero and Vincent Kompany.

Widely acclaimed as the greatest midfielder of his generation, Scholes – a one-club man between 1993 and 2013 – won the Premier League 11 times during his playing days.

Drogba, who spent two different spells with the Blues, proved a cornerstone of Chelsea's elevation to regular contenders in the competition.

Wright helped Arsenal to the title in 1997-98 before a brief spell with West Ham and remains the Gunners' second-highest scorer ever, behind only previous inductee Thierry Henry.

Schmeichel, who remains the only goalkeeper to win the Premier League Player of the Year Award, in 1995-96, is the first shotstopper to be inducted.

Kompany, a four-time Premier League winner during an acclaimed spell at City, helped usher in the team's modern era of dominance.

Aguero, meanwhile, is the highest-scoring overseas player in Premier League history, having scored 184 goals in just 275 appearances.

The six players were inducted via a public ballot, after Vieira and Rooney had been selected as automatic picks.

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