Stars Stand With Lineker in BBC Row

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The BBC face a football blackout on Saturday as presenters and commentators stand in solidarity with Gary Lineker.

Match of the Day will only air highlights while Final Score and Football Focus have been removed from the schedule.

This follows Lineker being told to step back from hosting Match of the Day, coming after days of controversy surrounding his criticism of the UK Government on Twitter.

Lineker had been critical of the government’s recent asylum policy. In a tweet, Lineker said: “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.”

Lineker’s Match of the Day co-hosts Alan Shearer and Ian Wright quickly ruled themselves out of appearing on the show. Alex Scott and Micah Richards also showed solidarity to their colleague.

Match of the Day commentators also took to Twitter to say they won’t be appearing on the show:

The BBC felt that Lineker’s tweet was in breach of the service’s impartiality guidelines. The guidelines expect presenters with Lineker’s following to remain balanced on governmental issues.

In a statement, a BBC spokesperson 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.

“We have said that he should keep well away from taking sides on party political issues or political controversies.”

Lineker has yet to comment on the BBC’s decision with his future at the national broadcaster remaining unclear.

Featured Image Credit: BBC / Match of the Day

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Sports Editor @brignewspaper

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