Former Liverpool and Republic of Ireland defender Mark Lawrenson claims he lost his job at the BBC because he is '65 [years old] and a white male'.
Lawrenson called time on a 30-year career as a pundit and co-commentator with the BBC at the end of last season, but has now said that the decision to retire was not his.
Speaking in an interview with the Sunday Times (opens in new tab), he said: "The Beeb are probably the worst at giving you bad news. It was just: 'We’re going on the road next season with [Football] Focus. We don’t think it is really something for you.'"
Lawrenson did have some praise for Football Focus presenter Alex Scott, who took over from Dan Walker in 2021, but also patronised the former Arsenal and England player by calling the 37-year-old 'a lovely kid'.
"She has done well in fairness to her, and is a lovely kid," he said. "Some people don’t want her to be any good, but she has got better and better.
"From the outset, we were trying to make the programme as easy as possible for her," he added. "It was a little bit frustrating because she would ask you a question and then move on … I would want to say something [else], but I just had to shut up because she was just learning."
Lawrenson also revealed his frustration at 'the woke thing' and cited an early example at the BBC.
"The ‘woke’ thing drives me bonkers," he said, before claiming that he was advised by an editor to “not mention the wall” when describing free-kicks because the game he was working on was just days after the death of Princess Diana.
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Ben Hayward is Weekend Editor for FourFourTwo. A European football writer with over 15 years’ experience, he has covered games all over the world - including three World Cups, several Champions League finals, Euros, Copa América - and has spent much of that time in Spain. He currently divides his time between Barcelona and London.