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Home » BBC Lifts Suspension of Soccer Presenter Gary Lineker

BBC Lifts Suspension of Soccer Presenter Gary Lineker

13 March 2023, Monday

The BBC's Director General, Tim Davie, declared on Monday that Gary Lineker, who had previously caused a stir due to his criticism of the government's asylum policy, will be returning to his role on the BBC's soccer show. Davie also noted that this has been a difficult time for people working for the BBC. In an effort to clarify the BBC's policy on social media usage, an independent expert has been appointed to review the existing social media guidance, as it had caused “potential confusion”.

Gary Lineker has had his suspension revoked by the BBC, following controversy surrounding a tweet he wrote criticising UK government policy. The BBC released a statement, expressing how much they value Lineker and looking forward to him presenting their coverage this weekend. Lineker, a former professional soccer player and presenter of 'Match of the Day' for almost 25 years, was suspended by the BBC on Friday. The statement declared how much the BBC means to Lineker and vice versa.

Gary Lineker has been reinstated to the BBC's flagship soccer show following a suspension. After the suspension was announced, the BBC was met with a boycott from pundits, presenters, and even players of the show, resulting in other soccer programs - “Football Focus” and “Final Score” - and some radio programming being taken off-air over the weekend.

Lineker expressed his delight to be reinstated in a tweet, saying it had been “a surreal few days”. He went on to thank all those who had shown support for him, especially his colleagues at BBC Sport, for the show of solidarity. He said, “Football is a team game but their backing was overwhelming."

Gary Lineker has been temporarily suspended from his presenting duties on the BBC's Match of the Day after tweeting about the UK government's proposed policy to try and stop migrant boats crossing the English Channel from France.

The tweet, posted on March 7, read: “Good heavens, this is beyond awful”, alongside a video posted by the Home Office. The tweet also stated that there was "no huge influx" of migrants, that the UK was taking fewer refugees than other European countries, and compared the language used to that deployed by Germany in the 1930s.

The BBC said it had considered Lineker’s actions to breach their guidelines, and he would not be presenting until a “clear and agreed position” had been established.

The BBC has been heavily criticised for its decision to suspend BBC Sport presenter Gary Lineker, which was seen as bowing to government pressure and undermining its own credibility. This led to a boycott of BBC scheduling across the network by BBC staff, soccer players, Premier League managers and politicians.

In response, the BBC’s Director-General, Tim Davie, released a statement reaffirming the organisation’s commitment to impartiality. He highlighted the importance of “holding power to account with consistency”, but also of not “allowing ourselves to be used to campaign to change public policy.”

BBC Director-General Tim Davie has said the broadcaster has a responsibility to ensure its social media guidance is "clear, proportionate and appropriate" amid the storm regarding presenter Gary Lineker's comments on refugees.

Davie has thanked Lineker for understanding during the difficult time and reiterated the Corporation's commitment to impartiality and freedom of expression.

In an apparent response to the controversy, Lineker took to Twitter and said; "However difficult the last few days have been, it simply doesn’t compare to having to flee your home from persecution or war to seek refuge in a land far away. It’s heartwarming to have seen the empathy towards their plight from so many of you."
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