BBC pundit Gary Lineker has been removed from the Match of the Day program after controversial tweet
Former England international and BBC pundit Gary Lineker has been temporarily removed from his duties on Match of the Day, the station’s flagship football program.
Lineker joined the BBC in 1999 and has been the face of the Match of the Day program for many years.
Lineker asked to step back from MOTD due to political views
Lineker, who played for Leicester City, Tottenham, and Barcelona and was also the top scorer at the 1990 FIFA World Cup, was asked by the BBC to take a step back from his Match of the Day functions as a result of his political stance on new immigration laws that the United Kingdom is set to enact.
Lineker had taken to Twitter to express his views about the UK’s new “Illegal Migration Bill” and in a now-deleted tweet compared the language used in the bill to the language used by Nazi Germany in the 1930s.
Lineker received backlash and support in equal measure over his sentiments, and the BBC has deemed that he broke the company’s impartiality clause that requires all presenters to be politically neutral.
Pundits, commentators, and players stand with Lineker
As a consequence, Lineker will not be allowed to appear on the BBC’s Match of the Day until clear terms on the use of his social media have been established.
In response to Lineker’s removal, other Match of the Day analysts, including Arsenal legend Ian Wright, former England record goalscorer Alan Shearer, and former England internationals Jermaine Jenas and Micah Richards, have all withdrawn from the program in support of Lineker.
This has put the BBC in a difficult position, and it has said that the Match of the Day program will be without any pundits this week, instead focusing on the action from the games during the halftime break.
In addition to its pundits, commentators on the BBC have also stood in solidarity with Lineker and will also not participate in this weekend’s action, with some players also rumoured to be planning a boycott of BBC’s post-match interviews.