The BBC’s Match of the Day will appear much different this weekend.
On Friday, Gary Lineker was asked to step away from the show due to disagreements about Lineker’s use of social media. This week, Lineker has been critical of the British government and a controversial migration bill.
The BBC said it considered Lineker’s “recent social media activity to be a breach of our guidelines”.
It added he should “keep well away from taking sides on party political issues or political controversies”.
The BBC asked Lineker to step back after “extensive discussions with Gary and his team in recent days”.
It “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”, the statement said.
It continued: “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.”
Colleagues Ian Wright and Alan Shearer stood by Lineker, with both announcing they would not be appearing on the show Saturday.
Everybody knows what Match of the Day means to me, but I’ve told the BBC I won’t be doing it tomorrow. Solidarity.
— Ian Wright (@IanWright0) March 10, 2023
I have informed the BBC that I won’t be appearing on MOTD tomorrow night.
— Alan Shearer (@alanshearer) March 10, 2023
It’s unclear what Match of the Day will look like this weekend without Lineker, Shearer, or Wright, but it will clearly be a departure from what viewers are used to watching. Jermaine Jenas, Micah Richards, and Alex Scott all tweeted they would not be appearing, in solidarity with their colleagues.