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Gary Lineker poised for Match of the Day return following BBC row

Ben Morris By Ben Morris, Staff Writer
Published: 10:56, 13 Mar 2023 Updated: 11:06, 13 Mar 2023

The 62-year-old will host Match of the Day this Saturday after settling matters with the BBC over his tweets condemning the UK government’s migration policy.

Having been taken off air for last weekend’s episode of Match of the Day, Gary Lineker will resume hosting duties on the popular Premier League highlights show following days of uncertainty surrounding his broadcasting future.

Last week, Lineker compared language used in introducing the government’s new Illegal Migration Bill – which bans migrants who arrive on unsanctioned boats from settling in Britain – to that of Germany in the 1930s.

Lineker tweeted:

“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?”

The former England striker – who scored 48 goals in 80 games for the Three Lions – was initially suspended by the BBC for questioning the government’s policy. However, Lineker has now been reinstated as the host of Match of the Day after receiving widespread support.

Following Lineker’s suspension, Ian Wright and Alan Shearer refused to appear on Match of the Day, while several other high-profile BBC broadcasters stood in solidarity with Lineker. This led to Saturday’s episode of MOTD airing without any presenters, pundits or commentators. 

It has been reported that Lineker has received a direct apology from the BBC, while the corporation has also apologised for the unsavoury events and announced an independent review of its social media regulations.

In a tweet, Lineker said:

“After a surreal few days, I'm delighted that we have navigated a way through this. I want to thank you all for the incredible support, particularly my colleagues at BBC Sport, for the remarkable show of solidarity. Football is a team game but their backing was overwhelming.

“A final thought: however difficult the last few days have been, it simply doesn't compare to having to flee your home from persecution or war to seek refuge in a land far away. It's heartwarming to have seen the empathy towards their plight from so many of you.”

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