Gary Lineker’s situation at the BBC has started to impact other shows and members of the station.
The former English soccer star was asked to “step back” Friday following a political tweet that the BBC considered “to be a breach of our guidelines” — with the network writing in a statement that it believes Lineker should “keep well away from taking sides on party political issues or political controversies,” according to CNN.
But the aftermath of the BBC’s decision unfolded with co-hosts and other broadcasters announcing that they wouldn’t participate in Saturday’s “Match of the Day” show, where Lineker serves as a contributor, in solidarity.
Other shows, such as “Football Focus” and “Final Score,” were reportedly impacted, too.
The BBC then released an apology Saturday morning for only being able “to bring limited sport programming this weekend.”
“We are sorry for these changes which we recognise will be disappointing for BBC sport fans,” the BBC said, according to The Guardian. “We are working hard to resolve the situation and hope to do so soon.”
The controversy dates back to a tweet from Lineker on Tuesday that criticized an English government immigration policy, according to CNN.
It was viewed as a controversial proposal that “would amount to an asylum ban,” the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said in a statement, and Lineker responded by typing, “Good heavens, this is beyond awful.”
“There is no huge influx,” Lineker said in a later Twitter reply, according to CNN. “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, and I’m out of order?”
Lineker followed up on his situation two days later, tweeting that after “an interesting couple of days,” the 62-year-old looked forward to contributing to “Match of the Day.”
Then, the BBC’s ruling on his situation was announced.
The whole tenor of Saturday’s “Match of the Day” broadcast “changed in minutes” Friday, according to The Independent.
Alan Shearer and Ian Wright, two hosts alongside Lineker, decided to boycott in solidarity. Commentators working the games for the network on Saturday joined, too, The Independent reported.
Lineker also received support from soccer managers, with Liverpool’s Jürgen Klopp stating, “I cannot see any reason why you would ask somebody to step back for doing that,” according to The Guardian.
The outlet also noted that Forest Green club chairman announced that the team won’t speak to the BBC until Lineker rejoins the network.
According to photos published by The Guardian, Lineker attended Leicester City’s Premier League game Saturday against Chelsea.
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