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Gary Lineker: BBC axes football shows as presenters pull out and fallout deepens – live

BBC has pulled its Radio 5 Live Sport coverage, saying there has been a change of schedule.

The station is currently playing old football podcasts.

Gary Lineker is on his way to the Leicester City ground to watch the team’s match against Chelsea, his son has confirmed.

Harry Lineker, 29, spoke to reporters as he left Lineker’s home in Barnes, south-west London to walk the dog.

“He has gone to Leicester to watch the game. He will be back this evening,” he said.

Lineker was born and grew up in Leicester and spent the first seven years of his professional career at the club.

The game is set to kick off at 3pm.

We reported earlier that Colin Murray’s comedy sports show Fighting Talk, which had been due to be broadcast on 5 Live at 11am, had been pulled from the schedule.

Murray has now tweeted saying: “In the interest of transparency, this was a decision taken by the entire FT team and myself.”

Guests on the show were due to be Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, Gail Emms, Reece Parkinson, and Bob Mills.

The show was replaced by a Chris Kamara podcast episode.

No @FightingTalk316 today, for obvious reasons.
In the interest of transparency, this was a decision taken by the entire FT team and myself.
Bob Mills was still up for it, to be fair 😉

— colin murray (@ColinMurray) March 11, 2023

GB News has announced it will be airing an “alternative Match of the Day” from 10pm tonight.

The channel doesn’t have the rights needed to broadcast games or goal highlights, but presenter Mark Dolan said the show would offer “political-free” punditry as well as “still photography and as many clips as we can get our hands on”.

🚨 Don’t miss an alternative MATCH OF THE DAY live from 10pm tonight on GB News, hosted by @mrmarkdolan and @PatrickChristys.

Only on GB News, the people’s channel.

📺 Freeview 236, Sky 512, Virgin 604
🖥 GB News on YouTube

— GB News (@GBNEWS) March 11, 2023

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has spoken out in Gary Lineker’s defence

Speaking to the LBC, he said Lineker had a “perfect right to express an opinion”.

“Even within the BBC’s own code, they are allowed to express opinions of a partisan nature, providing it doesn’t impinge on their area of work. His area is sport.”

He also criticised the way the controversy had taken attention away from the asylum policy Lineker’s original tweet was commenting on.

“Unfortunately the whole debate now is shifting on to Gary and the BBC and ignoring the issue of this, I think, disgraceful piece of legislation that parliament’s about to debate on Monday,” he said.

Impartiality is a knotty old concept, and one of the trickiest things about it is that it relies on the idea that you can safely find the middle ground.

Witness the agonised attempts by the BBC and the Labour party to land on that sweet spot of unimpeachable banality after radical centrist firebrand Gary Lineker’s tweets became a rightwing media obsession this week.

Even if you think his comparison of Suella Braverman’s rhetoric to that emanating from Germany in the 1930s is excessive, it is obviously the product of a moral clarity that has eluded the actual opposition.

Read the full piece from Archie Bland here:

Former Labour No 10 spin doctor Alastair Campbell has weighed in strongly in favour of Gary Lineker’s right to express his views on his private social media accounts in an interview with LBC this morning.

When asked if the number of followers Lineker commands on Twitter should make him more cautious, Campbell hit back arguing that the issue is a matter of principle, querying if other high-profile BBC presenters like David Attenborough and Brian Cox could also be suspended for expressing their personal views on their platforms.

BBC has pulled its Radio 5 Live Sport coverage, saying there has been a change of schedule.

The station is currently playing old football podcasts.

Sky News is reporting that Gary Lineker is expected to attend Leicester City’s match with Chelsea at the King Power Stadium, Leicester’s home ground, today.

Lineker was born and grew up in Leicester and spent the first seven years of his professional career at the club.

The game is set to kick off at 3pm.

Sky News understands that Gary Lineker is expected to attend Leicester-Chelsea at the King Power Stadium today

— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) March 11, 2023

Amid the news around Lineker and the BBC, it is worth remembering the tweet, and the policy, that sparked this debate.

It is not the first time in recent years that the UK government has been criticised over its rhetoric on refugees – nor is it the first time that comparisons with Nazi Germany have been invoked.

In a 2015 interview with the Guardian, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, then the UN’s human rights chief, said the dehumanising language used by UK and other European politicians to debate the refugee crisis had echoes of the pre-second world war rhetoric with which the world effectively turned its back on German and Austrian Jews and helped pave the way for the Holocaust.

In July that year, David Cameron referred to migrants in Calais as a “swarm of people”. At the Conservative party conference three months later, Theresa May, then the home secretary, was widely criticised for suggesting that mass migration made it “impossible to build a cohesive society”.

Zeid said the language surrounding the issue reminded him of the 1938 Evian conference, when countries including the US, the UK and Australia refused to take in substantial numbers of Jewish refugees fleeing Hitler’s annexation of Austria on the grounds that they would destabilise their societies and strain their economies. Their reluctance, Zeid added, helped Hitler to conclude that extermination could be an alternative to deportation.

Three-quarters of a century later, he said, the same rhetoric was being deployed by those seeking to make political capital out of the refugee crisis. “It’s just a political issue that is being ramped up by those who can use the excuse of even the smallest community as a threat to the sort of national purity of the state,” he said.

“If you just look back to the Evian conference and read through the intergovernmental discussion, you will see that there were things that were said that were very similar.

“Indeed, at the time, the Australian delegate said that if Australia accepted large numbers of European Jews they’d be importing Europe’s racial problem into Australia. I’m sure that in later years, he regretted that he ever said this – knowing what happened subsequently – but this is precisely the point. If we cannot forecast the future, at least we have the past as a guide that should wisen us, alert us to the dangers of using that rhetoric.”

Writing this feels like a Sisyphean task as more and more BBC contributors announce they are pulling out every hour, but here goes:

  • Gary Lineker has been suspended from the BBC over a perceived breach of the corporation’s impartiality rules. As the BBC attempted to find a replacement host for Match of the Day, Ian Wright and Alan Shearer announced they were pulling out of the show in solidarity

  • With the BBC struggling to find presenters, pundits or commentators for MOTD, it was announced the show would go ahead with only the match highlights being shown.

  • On Saturday morning, Alex Scott announced she had withdrawn from presenting Football Focus, and Jason Mohammad, the presenter of Final Score, followed suit. Both of those shows have now been replaced on the BBC TV schedule.

  • The BBC’s 5 Live sports coverage is also now battling withdrawals, while other sports shows on the radio station appear to have been pulled and replaced with podcast episodes.

  • Former BBC director general Greg Dyke has said the BBC has undermined its own credibility with its decision to stand Gary Lineker down because it will be viewed as having bowed to government pressure.

Final Score appears to have been pulled from the BBC One schedule, which now says The Repair Shop will run in its usual 4.30pm slot.

Presenter Jason Mohammad earlier confirmed he would not be hosting the show.

Former England player Dion Dublin, who now works as a commentator for BBC 5 Live, has pulled out of today’s coverage.

“In Solidarity with my BBC Sport colleagues NO 5live for me today!” he wrote on Twitter.

In Solidarity with my BBC Sport colleagues NO 5live for me today!

— Dion Dublin (@DionDublinsDube) March 11, 2023

Lineker did not answer questions from reporters when he left his home in Barnes, south-west London, this morning.

He was asked: “How do you think this has been handled?”, “is this the end of your BBC career?”, “have you had any discussions with the BBC overnight?” and “do you expect to resign?”, but did not respond.

Gary Lineker
Gary Lineker

For anyone who missed it yesterday, Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol had this to say on why many feel aggrieved over Lineker’s suspension:

Gary Lineker suspended by the BBC for upsetting the Conservatives because he stood up for some of the most vulnerable people in the world. The same BBC whose chairman gave the Conservatives £400,000 before helping to arrange an £800,000 loan for Boris Johnson

— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) March 10, 2023

The BBC appears to have pulled Football Focus from its schedule, with Bargain Hunt showing in its place.

It comes after Alex Scott confirmed she would not be presenting the football preview show at noon, saying “it doesn’t feel right for me to go ahead with the show today”.

As you can see from this blog, she is one of a number of presenters and pundits to pull out of BBC shows after Gary Lineker was told to step back from hosting Match of the Day in a row over impartiality.

The Daily Mail’s Mike Keegan has tweeted to suggest that the BBC’s 5 Live sports coverage is also now in peril.

Believe 5 Live Sport this afternoon now under threat. Have much sympathy with Beeb staffers (with bills to pay) who will now be under pressure to pull out. Difficult position to be in. Utter mess.

— Mike Keegan (@MikeKeegan_DM) March 11, 2023

This comes at the same time as the BBC announced that Colin Murray’s Fighting Talk comedy sports show has been pulled from 5 Live today.

Guests were due to be Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, Gail Emms, Reece Parkinson and Bob Mills.

The show has been replaced by a Chris Kamara podcast episode.

This is a fast-developing situation for the BBC.

Freelance reporter and presenter Flo Lloyd-Hughes suggests tomorrow’s WSL coverage of Chelsea vs Manchester United could also soon be affected.

In terms of WSL. Whisper produce the live game for BBC and Gravity the Women’s Football Show. BBC talent make up the live broadcast. Tbc on potential impact on Chelsea-United tomorrow. Everything is changing very quickly….

— Flo Lloyd-Hughes (@FloydTweet) March 11, 2023

This post was originally published on this site

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