Gary Lineker steps back from Match of the Day amid row over BBC stars tweets

Gary Lineker will “step back” from presenting Match Of The Day until he and the BBC have reached an “agreed and clear position” on his use of social media.

The presenter has been embroiled in a row over impartiality after comparing the language used to launch a new Government asylum policy with 1930s Germany.

A BBC spokesperson said: “The BBC has been in extensive discussions with Gary and his team in recent days. We have said that we consider his recent social media activity to be a breach of our guidelines.

“The BBC has decided that he will step back from presenting Match Of The Day until we’ve got an agreed and clear position on his use of social media.

“When it comes to leading our football and sports coverage, Gary is second to none.

“We have never said that Gary should be an opinion-free zone, or that he can’t have a view on issues that matter to him, but we have said that he should keep well away from taking sides on party political issues or political controversies.”

The news comes after the presenter, 62 announced on Thursday that he would still be presenting Match of The Day on Saturday as usual, despite having faced several days of intense criticism for his Twitter posts about the government’s asylum seeker policy.

A tweet fro the star had suggested he was not reprimanded for his comments about the small boats policy even despite heavy criticism from a number of high profile politicians.

"Well, it's been an interesting couple of days," he wrote on Twitter.

"Happy that this ridiculously out of proportion story seems to be abating and very much looking forward to presenting @BBCMOTD on Saturday.

"Thanks again for all your incredible support. It's been overwhelming."

Gary also told reporters outside his London home on Thursday that he stood by his comments and revealed he was not worried about being suspended from the BBC.

The row was sparked by his response on Twitter to a Home Office video in which Home Secretary Suella Braverman unveiled the Government’s plans to stop migrants crossing the Channel on small boats.

The ex-England striker wrote: “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.”

The comments sparked a furious row over whether he broke BBC impartiality by making the comparison.

The former England striker is currently employed by the network as a freelance broadcaster for BBC Sport.

As he is not a permanent staff member of the BBC team and doesn’t report on news or political content, as per company policy, Gary is not required to adhere to the same regulations on impartiality.

However his comments still drew widespread criticism from the Conservative Party, in particular from Home Secretary Suella Braverman who argued that the comparison to pre-Second World War Germany "diminishes the unspeakable tragedy" of the Holocaust, while also added that the comments were “offensive”, "lazy and unhelpful".


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