Neville tears into Government over BBC's call to axe Lineker from MOTD

‘They took on football and got beat up AGAIN’: Gary Neville tears into the Government over the BBC’s call to axe Gary Lineker from Match of the Day as he claims they are ‘at the heart of this nonsense’ and ‘wanted to silence someone who is damaging them’

  • The BBC has apologised for disruption that followed Gary Lineker’s suspension
  • Lineker will return to Match of the Day after a disrupted weekend of sport
  • Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville blamed the Government for his initial axing

Gary Neville has slammed the Government for ‘being at the heart of all this nonsense’ after the BBC’s decision to axe Gary Lineker.

Lineker will return to present Match of the Day next Saturday after initially being suspended in an impartiality row after anti-Tory tweets equating the Government’s crackdown on migrants in small boats to Germany in the 1930s. 

The suspension resulted in commentators and pundits pulling out from the famous programme, which ran at just 20 minutes with no discussion.

Director General Tim Davie, who is facing calls to resign, has apologised to BBC staff and presenters and BBC viewers and listeners, whose sporting coverage was decimated this weekend.

But there was no direct apology to Lineker for taking him off air on Friday. 

The BBC has apologised for disruption caused by Gary Lineker’s suspension a Match of the Day host, but they did not say sorry to Lineker directly

Match of the Day ran at just 20 minutes with no punditry or commentary on Saturday after BBC stars sided with Lineker 

Neville felt the Government was to blame for the BBC’s poor handling of the crisis, as he tweeted: ‘They took on football and got beat up again.

‘I’m talking about the Government who are at the heart of all this nonsense. They wanted to silence someone who is damaging them on a daily basis.’

He also tweeted a serious of laughing emojis at the inadequacy of the BBC’s initial apology.

The Sky Sports pundit took a similar stance before Lineker’s reinstatement, saying the situation was an example of what happens ‘when you take on the Tories and the system! Awful people who we need gone.’

Regardless of the circumstances of his return, Lineker was ‘delighted’ to be back, as he said on Monday: ‘I’m delighted that we have navigated a way through this.

‘I want to thank you all for the incredible support, particularly my colleagues at BBC Sport, for the remarkable show of solidarity. 

‘Football is a team game but their backing was overwhelming. I am immeasurably proud to work with the best and fairest broadcaster in the world. I cannot wait to get back in the MOTD chair on Saturday’. 

Davie has insisted there will be a review of the BBC’s impartiality policy in the aftermath of the row, and that Lineker will abide by the guidance while this takes place.

Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville blamed the BBC’s poor handling of the crisis on the Government


The former Manchester United man felt the Government was to blame for the crisis

In a statement, the Director General said: ‘Everyone recognises this has been a difficult period for staff, contributors, presenters and, most importantly, our audiences. 

‘I apologise for this. The potential confusion caused by the grey areas of the BBC’s social media guidance that was introduced in 2020 is recognised. I want to get matters resolved and our sport content back on air.

‘Impartiality is important to the BBC. It is also important to the public. The BBC has a commitment to impartiality in its Charter and a commitment to freedom of expression. That is a difficult balancing act to get right where people are subject to different contracts and on air positions, and with different audience and social media profiles. 

‘The BBC’s social media guidance is designed to help manage these sometimes difficult challenges and I am aware there is a need to ensure that the guidance is up to this task. It should be clear, proportionate, and appropriate.’

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