BBC presenter Gary Lineker made a humble return to live TV while managing the broadcaster’s coverage of FA Cup football.
LONDON — BBC presenter Gary Lineker made a modest return to live TV on Saturday and ran the broadcaster’s FA Cup football news, but chose not to directly address the recent suspension due to a tweet criticizing the UK government’s immigration policy.
Lineker was reinstated by the BBC on Monday after a massive backlash and massive cuts to regular sports coverage last weekend, after the public broadcaster backed down and retracted the former football great’s suspension.
Lineker, 62, former England star and one of the BBC’s best-known presenters, is back in the studio with former players Alan Shearer and Micah Richards ahead of Manchester City’s FA Cup quarter-final match against Burnley. Etihad Stadium.
“Alan, it’s great to be here,” Lineker said, his voice hoarse than usual, but in his keynote he said nothing but the latest turmoil.
Instead, it was Shearer who took up the situation after he and many other football experts and commentators refused to work for the BBC last weekend in solidarity with Lineker. As a result, several football shows were canceled and the popular “Match of the Day” featuring highlights from the Premier League was reduced from the regular 80 minutes to just 20 minutes of match footage without any commentary or analysis.
“I need to clarify and want to say how sorry we are for all the viewers who missed out last weekend,” Shearer said. “It was a really difficult situation for everyone involved. And through no fault of their own, some truly great people on television and radio have been put in an impossible situation. And that wasn’t fair. So it’s nice to go back to some kind of normalcy and talk again.
“Absolutely. I repeat these sentiments before focusing on the upcoming game,” Lineker said.
Known for his wit and frequent puns, Lineker previously shared a photo from the stadium on Twitter, commenting: “Oh, the joy of being allowed to stay connected.”
Lineker was suspended after the government’s new immigration plan — aimed at preventing people from reaching the country in small boats over the English Channel — on Twitter as “immeasurably cruel” and describing the government’s language as “no different from what Germany uses”. in the 30s.
The conservative government described Lineker’s comparison as offensive and unacceptable, and some MPs said the BBC should fire him. The broadcaster instead said it would “step back” until Lineker agreed to keep his tweets within the BBC’s neutrality rules. But Lineker refused to back down from his comments, and critics accused the BBC of suppressing free speech.
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