The BBC is in crisis this morning as a result of the fallout from its decision to ask Gary Lineker to step back from hosting Saturday’s Match Of The Day in a row over impartiality.
On Friday evening the corporation announced that Lineker would not be hosting MOTD until it had “an agreed and clear position on his use of social media”.
It comes after the former footballer came under fire for his tweets comparing the Government’s language on refugees to language used during Nazi Germany.
Following the BBC’s announcement on Friday, a number of MOTD pundits and commentators have said they will not appear on the show in solidarity with Lineker.
Here’s who has pulled out of the broadcast so far:
Who is boycotting Match Of The Day?
Shortly after the BBC confirmed on Friday evening that Lineker would not be presenting Saturday’s MOTD, a number of regular pundits tweeted that they would not be appearing on the show in a sign of solidarity.
“Everybody knows what Match of the Day means to me, but I’ve told the BBC I won’t be doing it tomorrow. Solidarity,” wrote former footballer Ian Wright.
Alan Shearer also tweeted that he had informed the BBC he would not be appearing on the show. Other regular pundits who were not scheduled to appear on Saturday’s, including Micah Richards, Alex Scott and Jermaine Jenas also tweeted their solidarity with Mr Lineker.
Late on Friday evening several MOTD commentators shared a joint statement announcement they would also not be participating on Saturday’s programme.
The statement said: “As commentators on MOTD, we have decided to step down from tomorrow night’s broadcast,” the statement read.
“We are comforted that football fans who want to watch their teams should still be able to do so, as management can use World Feed commentary if they wish.
“However, in the circumstances, we do not feel it would be appropriate to take part in the programme.”
The statement was shared by commentators including Steve Wilson, Conor McNamara, Robyn Rowen and Steven Wyeth.
Will Match Of The Day still go ahead?
As it stands, the BBC has said Saturday’s show will still go ahead, but without a presenter, pundits and commentators.
In a statement, the corporation said: “Some of our pundits have said that they don’t wish to appear on the programme while we seek to resolve the situation with Gary.
“We understand their position and we have decided that the programme will focus on match action without studio presentation or punditry.”
What about the players?
A number of Premier League players have reportedly contacted the Professional Footballers’ Association seeking advice with regards to fulfilling their media duties with the BBC after today’s matches.
The PFA is supporting players who do not want to do interviews with the BBC as a sign of soliday with Lineker and the union has contacted all Premier League clubs to establish a collective position, according to the Press Association.
Why has Gary Lineker been asked to step back from MOTD?
The BBC’s decision comes in reaction to a series of Tweets written by the former footballer on Tuesday criticising the Government’s new plan to stop people travelling to the UK illegally from claiming asylum here.
Lineker called the policy “beyond awful” and in a subsequent Tweet said the Government has used language that is “not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s”.
The tweets prompted a backlash amongst Tory MPs, who have called on Lineker to be sacked for not following the BBC’s strict impartiality guidelines.
However, the BBC is now facing fierce criticism for its decision to ask Lineker to step down from Saturday’s MOTD.
On Saturday morning former BBC director general Greg Dyke said the BBC had “undermined its own credibility” as it looks like it has bowed to pressure from the Government.
Emily Maitlis, the former BBC Newsnight presenter who has also previously been reprimanded by the corporation for her social media activity, said the backlash was getting “unmanageably big” for the BBC.