1678752440 origin 1

The BBC backtracks as former football star Gary Lineker returns to presenter duties

origin 1Soccer broadcaster Gary Lineker arrives before the English Premier League soccer match between Leicester City and Chelsea March 11, 2023 ©AP Photo

Former English football star Gary Lineker he will continue to host BBC’s flagship weekend football show Match of the Day, after the British public broadcaster reached a deal with the presenter, ending a “difficult weekend”.

“Gary is a valuable part of the BBC and I know how much the BBC means to Gary, and I can’t wait for him to feature our coverage next weekend,” said director general Tim Davie, in a statement.

The move comes after protests when the former player turned pundit was forced to step down from presenting the BBC’s flagship football show. Two other former football stars who were due to co-present with Linkeker, Ian Wright and Alan Shearer, also resigned in sympathy.

The dispute spilled over into the weekend with a number of high profile BBC sports presenters refusing to work on broadcasts, severely disrupting the BBC’s busy weekend schedule.

Lineker’s tweet criticized the government’s new asylum-seekers bill, comparing the language used to launch the policy to that used in 1930s Germany.

The BBC now says it will also launch an independent review of its current social media guidance. Lineker welcomes such an overhaul specifically targeting freelancers outside of news and current affairs, the statement added.

Meanwhile, the presenter says he will abide by the BBC’s social media guidelines, introduced in 2020, while the review is ongoing.

The former England international said he was happy to have found a way out and is expected to return to present FA Cup matches this weekend.

“I have presented sport at the BBC for nearly 3 decades and am immensely proud to work with the best and fairest broadcaster in the world. I can’t wait to get back in the MOTD chair on Saturday,” said Lineker.

The football pundit continued to support the asylum seekers, saying the past two difficult days “doesn’t compare to having to flee home from persecution or war to seek refuge in a distant land”.