BBC buckle under pressure from UK government as Gary Lineker ‘steps back’
Tweet scandal has dominated the news agenda in England in recent days.
Gary Lineker will “step back” from presenting Match Of The Day until he and the BBC have reached an “agreed and clear position” on his use of social media.
The presenter has been embroiled in a row over impartiality after comparing the language used to launch a new Government asylum policy with 1930s Germany.
While the BBC claim the decision to remove Lineker from his role, the former England captain has made it clear in messages to friends that he has been taken off air by the broadcaster.
BBC chiefs have been under huge pressure to take action against Lineker as senior members of the British government spoke out against Lineker and now a decision has come.
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.
“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.”
The row was sparked by his response on Twitter to a Home Office video in which Home Secretary Suella Braverman unveiled the Government’s plans to stop migrants crossing the Channel on small boats.
The ex-England striker wrote: “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.”
He has since faced criticism from Downing Street, Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer and Ms Braverman, who accused him of “diminishing the unspeakable tragedy” of the Holocaust.
Linker tweeted on Thursday that he was “very much looking forward” to presenting Match Of The Day on Saturday.
He previously told reporters outside his London home that he stood by his criticism of the immigration policy and did not fear suspension by the BBC.
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