updatedThe BBC has apologized after its Premier League output fell as broadcasters and pundits rebelled against Gary Lineker’s comment.
The British broadcaster took the unprecedented step of suspending Lineker on Friday afternoon over a politically charged tweet, but the decision backfired spectacularly as on-air coverage plummeted.
The BBC said: “The BBC will only be able to offer limited sports programming this weekend and our schedules will be updated to reflect this. We regret these changes which we know will be disappointing to BBC sports fans. We are working hard to resolve the situation and hopefully We’ll do that soon.”
Barbara Slater, the BBC’s sports director for nearly 14 years, apologized to staff in an email. “We understand how worrying this is,” she said.
Within a few hours on Saturday, the BBC’s television and radio productions were in tatters after a number of stars showed solidarity with Lineker by refusing to work. This is what happened:
- BBC1 Shows Focus on football And The final result It has been replaced repeatedly Try to reach a deal And the Repair and maintenance shop After hosts Alex Scott and Jason Muhammad joined the protest.
- From midday UK time on Saturday, the BBC was planning to show highlights of the Premier League Match of the day Without presenters, analysts and commentators, but insiders increasingly believe it could fall apart. One said, “I can’t see how we’re going to be able to go out tonight.”
- BBC Radio 5 Live’s schedule was canceled as live sports coverage was replaced by a repeat of the audio broadcast. Colin Murray and Mark Chapman were among the presenters who did not attend.
- Premier League players will not be giving interviews to the BBC on Saturday after they indicated they wanted a boycott Match of the day to support Lineker.
- Lineker did not even comment on his comment. He was photographed leaving his house on Saturday, but only saluted the press crowd camped outside his home.
- a Petition to reinstate Lineker by the BBC has collected more than 150,000 signatures.
The events are unprecedented and unsustainable, stemming from a single tweet, in which Lineker compared the government’s rhetoric on asylum seekers to Nazi Germany.
The BBC said the tweet breached social media rules on neutrality, but sources close to Lineker, the organisation’s highest-paid provider, said he stood by the accuracy of the post and would not apologise.
BBC journalists are held to higher standards of impartiality than non-news presenters such as Linker, although they were all told that their activity on social media “could affect their perceptions of the BBC’s impartiality”.
Lineker was deemed to have breached the BBC’s integrity rules last October after he tweeted his views on the Tories accepting donations from Russia. The BBC said Lineker had an “additional responsibility” due to his high profile and reminded him that staff should “avoid taking sides on partisan political issues or political controversies”.
Announcing Linker’s suspension on Friday, the BBC said: “The BBC has been in extensive discussions with Gary and his team in recent days. We have said we consider his recent activity on social media to be in breach of our guidelines.”
“The BBC has decided that he will withdraw from presenting Match of the Day until we have an agreed and clear position on his use of social media.
“When it comes to leading our coverage of football and sports, Gary is second to none. We’ve never said Gary should be a no-brainer, or that he can’t have a point on the issues that matter to him, but we’ve said he should go far About taking sides on partisan political issues or political differences.”
BBC presenters, critics and commentators who have opted out:
Alan Shearerthe BBC’s chief football expert and former Newcastle United striker
Ian Wrightthe former Arsenal player is A Match of the day normal
Jermaine JenasFormer Tottenham player, broadcaster and analyst
Alex ScottAnd Focus on football Host and former Arsenal player
Mark Chapman, anchor of live sports coverage on 5Live and gifts Match of the day 2
Colin Murraygifts Fighting talk on BBC Radio 5 Live
Dublin debtFormer Manchester United player and 5 live stream regular
Jason Muhammadgifts The final result for BBC1
Micah RichardsFormer Manchester City defender and one of the BBC’s chief football critics
Glenn Murraythe former professional is a Focus on football Expert and 5 live regularly
Kelly SomersFootball broadcaster and journalist
Steve WilsonOne of the BBC’s chief football commentators
“Infuriatingly humble alcohol fanatic. Unapologetic beer practitioner. Analyst.”