Gary Lineker 'delighted' to be returning as Match of the Day presenter this coming weekend
The BBC's coverage of football over the weekend faced severe disruption as Lineker was temporarily suspended from presenting Match of the Day on Saturday night
Gary Lineker will return as Match of the Day presenter this coming weekend, and the former England striker will be allowed to use social media without any restrictions, the BBC has confirmed.
The former England striker temporarily "stepped back" from presenting duties as a result of the row over his use of Twitter, but a resolution between Lineker and the BBC has since been found, with him set to return as soon as the Saturday 18 March programme.
Following his reinstating, Lineker tweeted: "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.
"I have been presenting sport on the BBC for almost 3 decades and 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.
"A final thought: however difficult the last few days have been, it simply doesn’t compare to having to flee your home from persecution or war to seek refuge in a land far away. It’s heart-warming to have seen the empathy towards their plight from so many of you."
BBC Director-General Tim Davie welcomed Lineker back to presenting duties.
He said: “Gary is a valued part of the BBC and I know how much the BBC means to Gary, and I look forward to him presenting our coverage this coming weekend."
Weekend football coverage across the BBC was disrupted due to walkouts triggered by Lineker's suspension. The Match of the Day presenter caused a storm last week after comparing the Conservative government's refugee policy to Nazi Germany on Twitter.
The BBC has a commitment to political impartiality as part of its charter, and Lineker drew criticism for using his profile to criticise the government, particularly over its approach to refugees and Brexit.
The BBC will now issue an independent review into its social media guidelines as a result of the impartiality row, Tim Davie, confirmed.
"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.
"We are announcing a review led by an independent expert – reporting to the BBC – on its existing social media guidance, with a particular focus on how it applies to freelancers outside news and current affairs. The BBC and myself are aware that Gary is in favour of such a review.
“Shortly, the BBC will announce who will conduct that review. Whilst this work is undertaken, the BBC’s current social media guidance remains in place."
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Ryan is a staff writer for FourFourTwo, joining the team full-time in October 2022. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before eventually earning himself a position with FourFourTwo permanently. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer while a Trainee News Writer at Future.