Former England captain Gary Lineker has been temporarily removed from his role as presenter of the BBC’s flagship football highlights match of the day show in the wake of his criticism. UK government’s new policy To the asylum seekers.
The BBC’s removal of Lineker from the show – a national institution in the UK that has been broadcasting since the 1960s – marked an extraordinary development and was followed by an outpouring of public support for Lineker and many of his colleagues announced that they would leave the show. But will not appear. show without him.
In a Twitter post to his 8.7 million followers on Tuesday, Lineker – one of England’s greatest ever footballers and now one of Britain’s most influential media figures – said language used towards asylum seekers was similar to that used in Nazi Germany by members of the UK government.
“The BBC has decided that it will stand back from presenting ‘Match of the Day’,” the BBC said late on Friday, “until we have found an agreed and clear position on the use of social media”.
“We never said Gary should be an opinion-free zone, or that he couldn’t consider issues that matter to him, but we did say he should stay away from party politics or taking sides on political issues.” should remain.” Controversy,” said the BBC.
Members of Parliament’s Conservative Party called on the BBC to discipline Lineker after he tweeted that the government planned to detain and deport asylum seekers Arriving by boat was “an extremely brutal policy directed at the weakest in a language not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s”.
“There is no large influx. We take in very few refugees compared to other major European countries,” he wrote.
There is no major influx. We take in very few refugees compared to other major European countries. This is an extremely cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable in a language not dissimilar to the language used by Germany in the 30s, and I’m out of order?
— Gary Lineker 💙💛 (@GaryLineker) March 7, 2023
The government called Lineker’s Nazi comparisons unfair and unacceptable, while some members of parliament said he should be fired.
Lineker has yet to comment officially on his temporary dismissal, although one of his former BBC colleagues – Dan Walker – said he had been in contact with Lineker and asked him “whether he is stepping down or whether the BBC has asked him to step down. Back”.
Walker said Lineker replied to him that the BBC “told me I had to back down”.
“So Gary Lineker wants to continue to present ‘Match of the Day’ and is not apologizing for what he has said,” Walker said on Channel 5, where he works, “but he has said that It is the BBC’s decision not to force them to do so.” Present the program at this time”.
In solidarity with Lineker’s stance, Alan Shearer and Ian Wright – former England players who serve as pundits on Match of the Day – said on Twitter that they would not appear on the program this weekend.
I have informed the BBC that I will not be at the MOTD tomorrow night.
— Alan Shearer (@alanshearer) March 10, 2023
Everyone knows how much Match of the Day means to me, but I have told the BBC that I will not be doing that tomorrow. Solidarity.
— Ian Wright (@IanWright0) March 10, 2023
The BBC said it considered Lineker’s “recent social media activity to be in breach of our guidelines”, adding that he should refrain from taking sides on political issues.
Financed by a license fee paid by all households with television, the BBC has a duty to remain impartial and news staff are barred from expressing political opinions.
But as a freelancer who doesn’t work in news or current affairs, Lineker isn’t bound by the same rules and he often delves into politics and human rights issues with his tweets.
The BBC’s neutrality has recently come under scrutiny over revelations that its chairman, Richard Sharpe – a Conservative Party donor – weeks before the then Prime Minister Boris Johnson was to be appointed to the BBC post on the government’s recommendation in 2021 Helped arrange the loan.
Support for Lineker grew on social media on Friday night and questions were raised about the BBC’s impartiality and lack of action on other figures taking public stands on political issues.
Dear @ BBC, in the interest of fairness can you please ask now @Lord_Sugar withdraw from @bbcaprentice , Otherwise people may wonder if you’re really fair @garylinekar pic.twitter.com/GY2JurOiLy
— Alan Rusbridger (@arusbridger) March 10, 2023
‘stop the boats’
The Conservative government has come under fire for its plan to reject asylum claims of people arriving by boat on UK shores and relocate them elsewhere such as Rwanda.
Human rights groups and the United Nations said the policy, Known as “Stop the Boats”would make the UK an international outlaw under European and UN conventions on the protection given to asylum seekers.
The opposition Labor Party said the BBC’s suspension of Gary Lineker’s broadcast was an attack on free speech in the face of political pressure.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called the BBC’s move “impermissible”.
After more of his colleagues, such as former footballers Alex Scott, Jermaine Janus and Micah Richards, said they would not want to work on Match of the Day because of Lineker’s treatment, the BBC decided on the format of the show, which airs on Saturdays.
The BBC said in a statement on Friday: “Some of our pundits have said they do not want to continue with the program until we resolve the situation with Gary.”
“We understand their position and we have decided that the program will focus on match action without studio presentation or punditry,” it said.
Lineker, 62, was a household name in the UK before becoming an easygoing, knowledgeable presenter of sports shows on the BBC and other broadcasters. He was the leading scorer at the 1986 World Cup and finished his international career with 48 goals in 80 appearances for England.
His club career included spells with Barcelona, Tottenham, Everton and Leicester.