Ian Wright has pulled out of Match Of The Day in “solidarity” with Gary Lineker.
The former footballer tweeted: “Everybody knows what Match of the Day means to me, but I’ve told the BBC I won’t be doing it tomorrow. Solidarity.”
The news comes after a statement from the BBC that revealed Gary Lineker will no longer be hosting Match of the Day.
The 62-year-old host, who has recently faced harsh criticism for his Twitter rants regarding the government’s asylum seeker policies, said on Thursday that he will continue to host Match Of The Day on Saturday as usual.
However, that has now changed.
Despite condemnation from several lawmakers, Lineker had claimed in a tweet that he had not received a censure from the BBC for his remarks regarding the small boats policy.
The policy, which was recently delivered in a statement by the Prime Minister said in part: “We are introducing legislation to make clear that if you come here illegally you can’t claim asylum. You can’t benefit from our modern slavery protections, you can’t make spurious human rights claims, and you can’t stay.
“We will detain those who come here illegally and then remove them in weeks, either to their own country if it is safe to do so, or to a safe third country like Rwanda.
“And once you are removed, you will be banned—as you are in America and Australia—from ever re-entering our country.”
Clearly Lineker wasn’t a fan of this, and in his first contentious tweet, he compared the language used to declare the government’s intentions to that of Germany in the 1930s.
A debate about whether he violated BBC impartiality regulations quickly ensued. And it seems he went a little too far.
His statements prompted condemnation from Conservative Party MPs, with Home Minister Suella Braverman stating that the connection with pre-Second Word War Germany to government’s recent legislation “diminishes the unspeakable tragedy” of the Holocaust, adding that what he said in his tweets was “offensive,” “lazy and unhelpful”.
Responding to the news, Lineker took to Twitter once again, writing: “Well, it’s been an interesting couple of days.”
“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.”
On Thursday, Lineker told reporters in front of his London house that he was unafraid of being fired from the BBC and that he stuck by his critique of the administration.
The BBC gave a statement on the issue, writing: “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.”
What do you make of the controversy?
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