‘It’s good to be here’: Gary Lineker is delighted to be back on BBC as pundit Alan Shearer apologises to viewers over last week’s football TV walkout and says colleagues were put in ‘an impossible position’ by Nazi tweet row
- The broadcaster is due back on our screens after being taken off air last week
- He came under fire for comparing Government language with 1930s Germany
Gary Lineker tweeted a selfie of himself during his comeback to the BBC and posted a ‘teammates’ picture of Alan Shearer and Micah Richards, who backed him over his ‘Nazi’ tweet row.
He said, ‘The joys of being allowed to stick to football!’ alongside a photo of himself covering Manchester City v Burnley today.
It came as he was pictured leaving his south London home today ahead of his much-anticipated return to TV today.
At the beginning of this evening’s commentary, Lineker’s co-host Alan Shearer said: ‘I just needed to clear up and wanted to say how upset we were [for] all the audiences who missed out on last weekend.
‘It was a really difficult situation for everyone concerned and through no fault of their own, some really great people in TV and in radio were put in an impossible situation, and that wasn’t fair.
‘So, it’s good to get back to some sort of normality and be talking about football.’
The broadcaster is presenting the BBC’s coverage of the FA Cup quarter-final between Manchester City and Burnley at the Etihad Stadium.
It is his first appearance since he was told to step back from hosting Match Of The Day (MOTD) in a row over impartiality.
He said, ‘The joys of being allowed to stick to football!’ alongside a photo of himself covering Manchester City v Burnley today
Gary Lineker tweeted a ‘teammates’ picture of Alan Shearer and Micah Richards, who backed him over his ‘Nazi’ tweet row
Lineker, 62, was taken off air last week for a tweet comparing the language used to launch the Government’s new Illegal Migration Bill with 1930s Germany.
The BBC then performed a humiliating U-turn, even apologising to the former footballer and vowing to review its social media guidelines.
Lineker was this morning pictured leaving his home in south London, dressed in a dark suit with a charcoal shirt, clutching a coat and a bag, before stepping into a car.
Gary Lineker was pictured leaving his south London home today before he makes his much-anticipated return to TV this afternoon
The broadcaster is due back on our screens at 5.25pm today to present the BBC’s coverage of the FA Cup quarter-final between Manchester City and Burnley at the Etihad Stadium
Lineker’s tweet that started the entire saga that led to staff walkouts at the BBC after the corporation’s decision to boot the MOTD host off air
Alan Shearer arrives at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester to present live coverage with Gary Lineker, of the FA Cup quarter-final between Manchester City and Burnley on the BBC
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Asked last night by LaLiga Sports TV about how his week has been, the former England striker said: ‘Really quiet. Nothing much going on. You could say it’s been an interesting week but I’m still here, still punching.
‘It was interesting and also hugely gratifying, I had an amazing amount of support from my friends and colleagues which was quite beautiful actually.
‘It was totally disproportionate the whole thing but we’re OK. It’s resolved, I’m relieved, I’m back to work tomorrow and all is well with the world.’
He will present live BBC coverage, with analysis from Alan Shearer and Micah Richards, on Saturday afternoon while Mark Chapman is due to host the Match Of The Day highlights show later on Saturday night.
Many of Lineker’s BBC Sport colleagues walked out in ‘solidarity’ last weekend, with highlight shows significantly shorter than usual and aired without presentation or commentary.
MOTD aired for only 20 minutes last Saturday without accompanying commentary or analysis from presenters, with Sunday’s edition following a similar format and running for just 15 minutes.
BBC director-general Tim Davie said in a statement the corporation has commissioned an independent review of its social media guidelines, particularly for freelancers.
Mr Davie apologised for what he acknowledged had been ‘a difficult period for staff, contributors, presenters and, most importantly, our audiences’ and described the BBC’s commitment to freedom of expression and impartiality as a ‘difficult balancing act’.
He added: ‘The potential confusion caused by the grey areas of the BBC’s social media guidance that was introduced in 2020 is recognised. I want to get matters resolved and our sport content back on air.’
Lineker was this morning pictured leaving his home in south London, dressed in a dark suit with a charcoal shirt, clutching a coat and a bag, before stepping into a car
It is his first appearance since he was told to step back from hosting Match Of The Day (MOTD) in a row over impartiality
Lineker, 62, was taken off air last week for a tweet comparing the language used to launch the Government’s new Illegal Migration Bill with 1930s Germany
It comes as protesters wore masks of Lineker’s face at a pro-refugee march in Glasgow this morning
After the official BBC statement was published, Lineker tweeted that he was ‘delighted’ to have navigated a way through the row after a ‘surreal few days’.
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He added: ‘I have been presenting sport on the BBC for almost three decades and am immeasurably proud to work with the best and fairest broadcaster in the world. I cannot wait to get back in the MOTD chair on Saturday.’
It comes as protesters wore masks of Lineker’s face at a pro-refugee march in Glasgow this morning.
Crowds descended on the Scottish city with placards reading ‘refugees welcome’ and ‘stop Rwanda’, a reference to Suella Braverman’s policy to deport people arriving in the UK illegally in small boats to the African country.
The Home Secretary doubled down on the controversial policy today by making her first visit to Rwanda since taking the cabinet role.
Ms Braverman said the plan ‘will act as a powerful deterrent against dangerous and illegal journeys’.
The minister also hit back at critics of the deal, saying Rwanda can hold ‘many thousands’ of migrants – although none have yet been relocated.
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