Match of the Day pundit Ian Wright says he will not appear on Match of the Day on Saturday, as BBC stars launched a revolt over the axing of Gary Lineker from the show this weekend.
The ex-Arsenal striker said he was standing in ‘solidarity’ with Mr Lineker, after the presenter was asked to ‘step back’ from the show following a row over his tweets.
The corporation made the announcement following a major political row over a tweet from the presenter compared the language used to launch the Government’s new asylum policy with 1930s Germany.
The BBC said Mr Lineker will step back from his duties “until an agreement is reached on his social media use”.
Ex-England teammate Wright later 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.”
In the statement about Lineker, a BBC spokesperson said: “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.”
Many celebrities have taken to Twitter to criticise the broadcaster’s decision.
Channel 5 host Dan Walker said: “I used to sit in for @garylineker … not sure I’d fancy it this weekend. What a mess!”
Comedian and BBC television presenter Richard Osman also criticised the decision to remove the host from his presenting duties, saying: “This is pathetic for so many reasons.”
Former Manchester United defender and football pundit Gary Neville said: “When you take on the Tories and the system! Awful people who we need gone. Off for a [wine].”
Comedian Kathy Burke said: “What an absolute f*****g joke”.
Stand-up comic Tez Ilyas wrote: “Whether you agree or disagree with @GaryLineker, being forced to step back from a sports presenting job he’s done for over two decades, because he had a jibe at the Government, is messy af.”
This story is being updated.