Match of the Day aired in silence this evening after pundits refused to appear on it in a show of solidarity for Gary Linker after he was suspended by the BBC as presenter of the show.
The extraordinary episode, which began at 10.20pm, had no commentary on highlights, no studio pundits or presenters and only lasted 20 minutes, instead of the normal 80.
The show also did not have its normal title sequence including its famous theme tune, which has featured on every episode of the show since August 1970.
At the start of the episode the words “Premiere League Highlights” flashed up, before highlights of games were shown – but there was no reference to the Match of the Day branding.
Games featured included Leicester’s 3-1 loss to Chelsea which Lineker attended, but no shots of him in the crowds were seen.
There was also interviews with managers or players, or post match statistics – which are normally included in every episode.
During the programmed, Football fans rushed to social media to mock the episode and demand the BBC resolves the is
It comes after the BBC announced yesterday the show would only feature match action, as it tries to “resolve the situation with Gary”.
Pundits who refrained from appearing on the show said in a statement before it aired commentary on matches would still be available to viewers via the Premiere League’s World Feed service.
According to The Sunday Times, the BBC’s highlights contract with the Premier League is limited to video, not commentary.
And an insider told the paper the BBC did not have enough time to ‘resolve contractual issues’ with the league before the show aired.
MOTD was one of a series of BBC football shows which was axed after their stars walked out in support, including Football Focus.
BBC director-general Tim Davie apologised to viewers for the disruption in sports programmes but said he refused to quit over the crisis.
When asked in a interview with the BBC whether he would step down, he said: “My job is to serve licence fee payers and I look forward to resolving this situation.”
Later other regular hosts of the show including Micah Richards and Jermaine Jenas also said they would not feature on it.
Afterwards, the BBC announced it understood the star’s position and had decided the programme will “focus on match action without studio presentation or punditry”.
Lineker was spotted watching Leicester City on Saturday at their King Power Stadium ground and taking selfie photos with fans.
Lineker taken off air for a tweet which compared the language used to launch a new Government asylum seeker policy to that used in 1930s Germany.
The BBC said it had “decided” Lineker would take a break from presenting the football highlights programme until an “agreed and clear position” on his use of social media had been reached.
But the broadcaster has been left apologising for broadcasting only “limited sport programming” this weekend after several presenters, pundits, commentators and reporters joined a boycott in support of Lineker.