By Josh Payne, PA Chief Reporter
Match Of The Day host Gary Lineker will continue as a BBC presenter after the corporation apologised for “potential confusion caused by the grey areas” of its social media guidelines.
A host of sports presenters and pundits pulled out of BBC shows at the weekend after the former England striker was told to step back from hosting the show in a row over impartiality.
The 62-year-old was taken off-air for a tweet comparing the language used to launch a new UK government asylum seeker policy with 1930s Germany.
After a surreal few days, 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. 1/4
— Gary Lineker 💙💛 (@GaryLineker) March 13, 2023
The BBC’s director-general, Tim Davie, has now confirmed Lineker will continue as the host of Match Of The Day, saying: “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.”
In a statement issued on Twitter, Lineker described the past few days as “surreal”, and thanked his fellow BBC Sport colleagues for their “remarkable show of solidarity”.
He also appeared to address the issue of migration again, saying his difficult weekend “doesn’t compare to having to flee your home from persecution or war to seek refuge in a land far away”.
“We remain a country of predominantly tolerant, welcoming and generous people. Thank you,” he said.