Sunday's BBC football coverage 'much-reduced' as Gary Lineker row drags on

Television presenter and former footballer Gary Lineker waves as he arrives prior to the Premier League football match between Leicester City and Chelsea at the King Power Stadium on March 11, 2023 in Leicester, United Kingdom.
(Image credit: Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)

The BBC is set to run a "much-reduced" Sunday football schedule, as the fallout over Gary Lineker's tweet on the British governments asylum policy continues.

Match of the Day 2 and live coverage of the Women's Super League game between Chelsea and Manchester United are expected to be affected.

BBC Sports Editor Dan Roan tweeted:

"At this stage BBC expecting the planned WSL match between Chelsea and Manchester United this afternoon to be on BBC2, but with no pre-match presentation.

"Expecting MOTD2 to follow similar much-reduced format to MOTD last night." And that was confirmed in a statement later on Sunday, which said: "As yesterday, there will be no ‘normal’ MOTD(2) programme tonight. The scheduled commentary team are in full agreement with our BBC Sport colleagues. We hope that a resolution can be found ASAP."

In unprecedented scenes, Saturday's Match of the Day – the BBC's flagship football show – was stripped to the bare bones, running for just 20 minutes and consisting only of brief highlights of the day's Premier League action with no commentary or studio analysis; even the iconic title music was missing.

That was after pundits and commentators stepped back from their duties in solidarity with Lineker, who was suspended on Friday for allegedly breaching BBC impartiality guidelines.

Saturday's editions of Football Focus and Final Score were taken off air after presenters and reporters pulled out, while Radio 5 Live's sport schedule was also heavily impacted.

BBC Director-General Tim Davie has apologised for the disruption, saying that (opens in new tab) "success for me is getting [Lineker] back on air".

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Tom Hancock started freelancing for FourFourTwo in April 2019 and has also written for The Analyst and When Saturday Comes, among others. He supports Wycombe Wanderers and has a soft spot for Wealdstone. A self-confessed statto, he has been known to watch football with a spreadsheet (or several) open...