Gary Lineker back on air as Alan Shearer addresses ‘difficult situation’ after tweet row

Entertainment

Gary Lineker has returned to his presenting duties on the BBC, with football pundit Alan Shearer speaking about the “difficult situation” he and his colleagues faced after a row over impartiality.

Lineker was forced off air in a row over a tweet criticising the government’s migration policy, with his co-presenters standing down from Match Of The Day last weekend in solidarity.

Shearer was speaking as he joined Micah Richards and Lineker – who opened the show by saying it was “great to be here” – on Saturday evening for FA Cup coverage, a week after viewers had to make do with a severely limited version of the programme due to the dispute.

He said: “I just need to clear up and wanted to say how upset we were for all the audiences who missed out on last weekend.

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‘Hopefully BBC moving beyond Lineker row’

“It was a really difficult situation for everyone concerned and through no fault of their own, some really great people on TV and in radio were put in an impossible situation, and that wasn’t fair.

“So it’s good to get back to some sort of normality and be talking about football.”

Lineker responded: “Absolutely, echo those sentiments.”

Tweets posted by Lineker, 62, had compared the language used by government to launch its new asylum seeker policy to that used in 1930s Germany.

The row worsened after Lineker’s BBC sport colleagues, including Shearer, walked out in solidarity.

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Richards had not been due to appear that weekend but had said on social media that if he had been, he would have done the same.

That meant Match Of The Day could only air for 20 minutes and without accompanying commentary or analysis, and without even its theme tune.

Sunday’s edition ran for just 15 minutes.

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After the dispute, BBC director-general Tim Davie apologised and said an independent review had been launched looking into the corporation’s social media guidelines, particularly for freelancers like Lineker.

Before returning to live presenting as part of the BBC’s coverage of the FA Cup quarter-final between Manchester City and Burnley, Lineker tweeted a number of times.

He wrote “back to the Saturday job” in the morning, before a selfie at the stadium captioned “Ah the joys of being allowed to stick to football”.

He also posted a photo of himself with Richards and Shearer, describing them as “teammates”

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