The BBC’s weekend coverage of football was plunged into chaos after it was announced Gary Lineker He will “backtrack” from the submission, having been embroiled in a row over neutrality when he criticized UK government policy on Twitter.
The broadcaster is now facing a boycott from pundits, broadcasters and even players of its flagship football program Match of the Day, while other football programs – Football Focus and Final Score – and some radio programs have been forced off the air as a result of an uproar.
Lineker criticized the government’s controversial new asylum-seekers policy on Tuesday and was later removed from his presenting duties this week because the BBC said his tweets breached its guidelines, specifically its commitment to “due impartiality”.
The BBC’s decision sparked controversy, causing the organization to come under fire from opposition politicians, the BECTU union representing BBC staff, and its former director-general Greg Dyke.
“The BBC will only be able to offer limited sports programming this weekend and our schedules will be updated to reflect this,” a BBC spokesperson said in a statement on Saturday.
“We are sorry for these changes which we realize will be disappointing to BBC sports fans.
“We are working hard to resolve the situation and hope to do so soon.”
On Tuesday, Lineker tweeted a video posted to Twitter by the UK Home Office announcing the proposed new policy – attempt Stopping migrant boats from crossing the English Channel from France, which has been criticized by the United Nations and other international bodies.
He added, “There is no massive influx. We take in far fewer refugees than other major European countries. This is just an immeasurably harsh policy directed at the most vulnerable people with language not unlike that used by Germany in the 1930s, and am I off duty?”
As the British public broadcaster, the BBC is bound by the principle of “due impartiality” – a controversial term which the organization has called He specifies as accounting for “power with consistency” while not “allowing ourselves to be used in a campaign to change public policy”.
On Friday, the BBC announced that Lineker would “retract from presenting Match of the Day until we have reached an agreed and clear position on his use of social media”, adding that it considered his recent social media activity to be a breach of its guidelines.
In response, first pundits, then commentators, and then even Premier League teams announced their intention to boycott the show in support of Lineker.
“Under the circumstances, we do not feel it would be appropriate to take part in the programme,” BBC commentators Steve Wilson, Conor McNamara, Robyn Quinn and Stephen Withe said in a joint statement released late Friday.
Former England striker Jermain Defoe announced on Saturday that he would not be appearing as an analyst on the Sunday programme.
“It’s always a privilege to work with BBC MOTD. But I made the decision tomorrow to step down from my duties. GaryLineker,” Defoe chirp.
Defoe’s announcement appears to be the first sign that the BBC’s Sunday television programming will also be affected.
Meanwhile, the Professional Footballers’ Association announce On Saturday that “players participating in today’s matches will not be required to participate in interviews for today’s match”.
“The AFC representatives have spoken to members who wanted to take a collective stand and be able to show their support to those who have chosen not to participate in the tonight programme,” the statement added.
“During those conversations we made it clear that we, as a union, will support all members who may face consequences for choosing not to complete their broadcasting obligations. This is a logical decision that ensures players are not placed in that position now.”
Following his team’s 1-0 defeat at Bournemouth on Saturday, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was asked about the BBC case.
“I can’t see any reason for them to ask anyone to back off for saying that. I’m not sure if that’s a language issue or not,” the German told reporters.
“If I understand it correctly, this is about an opinion about human rights and that should be possible.
“What I don’t understand is why everyone goes to Twitter and says something. I don’t understand the social media part of it but that’s probably [because] I’m too old for that.”
Former BBC director general Greg Dyke said the broadcaster had “undermined its credibility” by suspending Linker because it appeared to “bow to government pressure”.
Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition Labor Party, said the BBC had “got this very wrong and now they are very exposed”.
First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon chirpHe said: “As a staunch supporter of public service broadcasting, I want to be able to defend the BBC. But the decision to remove Gary Lineker from the air cannot be justified. It undermines freedom of expression in the face of political pressure – and it always seems like right-wing pressure to succumb to it.”
Deputy leader of the opposition Labor Party, Angela Rayner, also criticized the BBC’s decision in a tweet on Saturday.
The BBC’s cowardly decision to take Gary Lineker off the air is an assault on freedom of expression in the face of political pressure from Tory politicians. They should rethink.”
While Nadine Dorris, a member of the ruling Conservative Party and former Minister of Culture, welcomed the BBC’s decision, TwitterHe said: “The news that Gary Lineker has resigned from the investigation is welcome and shows that the BBC is serious about impartiality.
“Gary deserves his views – freedom of speech is paramount. A lot of non-public service broadcasters can identify with him and his views and he will be better paid.”
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