Gary Lineker reflects on ‘extremely pleased’ support ahead of BBC return

Gary Lineker said when he returned to his TV screens to report live the FA Cup quarter-final between Manchester City and Burnley that his support from his colleagues was “very gratifying” and “very nice”.

Saturday will mark the 62-year-old broadcaster’s first appearance on the BBC since he was asked to step back from hosting consecutive Match Of The Day (MOTD) shows because of his impartiality.

Lineker was suspended from broadcasting last week for a tweet comparing the language used to launch the Government’s new asylum policy to 1930s Germany.

When asked by LaLiga Sports TV how his week on Friday was, the former England striker said: “Really quiet. Nothing much is going on. You could say it’s been an exciting week but I’m still here, still punching.

“It’s been exciting and also extremely gratifying, I’ve received incredible support from my friends and colleagues, which is truly amazing.

“Things are completely disproportionate but we are fine. It’s been resolved, I’m relieved, I’ll be back to work tomorrow and everything is fine with the world.”


Gary Lineker to present BBC football coverage on Saturday (Ian Walton/PA)

He will present live BBC reporting, with analysis by Alan Shearer and Micah Richards, on Saturday afternoon while Mark Chapman will host Match Of The Day highlights on Saturday night.

Many of Lineker’s BBC Sport colleagues died in “solidarity” last weekend, with program highlights significantly shorter than usual and airing without presentation or commentary.

MOTD only aired for 20 minutes last Saturday with no commentary or accompanying analysis from the presenters, with the Sunday version following the same format and running for only 15 minutes.

BBC director general Tim Davie said in a statement that the consortium had conducted an independent review of its social media guidelines, particularly for freelancers.

Mr Davie apologized for what he acknowledged was “a difficult period for our staff, contributors, presenters and most importantly, our audience” and described the BBC’s commitment to the rights freedom of speech and fairness is a “difficult balancing act”.


BBC Director General Tim Davie (Peter Byrne/PA)

He added: “The potential confusion caused by gray areas in the BBC’s social media guidelines introduced in 2020. I wanted to address the issue and our sports content. broadcast again.”

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After the BBC’s official statement was published, Lineker tweeted that he was “delighted” to have made it through the line after a “bizarre few days”.

He added: “I have been presenting sport on the BBC for almost three decades and am incredibly proud to be working with the best and fairest broadcaster in the world. I can’t wait to return to the MOT chair on Saturday.” Gary Lineker reflects on ‘extremely pleased’ support ahead of BBC return

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