Premier League Match of the Day will be broadcast without presenters this weekend, after the main host, Gary Lineker, was suspended from the BBC for breaching impartiality guidelines.
Lineker had criticised the government’s asylum policies.
In a dramatic escalation of events, BBC took the decision to remove its highest-paid presenter from its flagship football show after he was criticised by Tory MPs and rightwing media.
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, and I’m out of order?
— Gary Lineker 💙💛 (@GaryLineker) March 7, 2023
His suspension immediately led to displays of solidarity from Lineker’s co-hosts Ian Wright and Alan Shearer, who announced that they would not be turning up to present Saturday’s show.
I have informed the BBC that I won’t be appearing on MOTD tomorrow night.
— Alan Shearer (@alanshearer) March 10, 2023
Unable to find willing replacements, the BBC took announced that the Premier League highlights programme would go ahead without any hosts or studio presentation. It will feature only match footage.
Everybody knows what Match of the Day means to me, but I’ve told the BBC I won’t be doing it tomorrow. Solidarity.
— Ian Wright (@IanWright0) March 10, 2023
On Friday, commentator Steve Wilson tweeted that the show’s commentary team had decided to pull out of the programme. “As commentators on MOTD, we have decided to step down from tomorrow night’s broadcast,” he said. “We are comforted that football fans who want to watch their teams should still be able to do so, as management can use World Feed commentary if they wish.”