Gary Lineker admitted he was ‘glad to be back’ on the BBC to present Manchester City”s FA Cup tie against Burnley, after controversially being told to step back from presenting Match of the Day last weekend.
Lineker was told to take a step away from presenting the Saturday night highlights show after a row regarding the broadcaster’s impartiality rules. The former England and Leicester City man came under fire for comparing the language used by the government in their asylum plans to ‘that used by Germany in the 30s’ in a tweet last Tuesday.
However the BBC faced widespread criticism for their decision to take Lineker off air, with news of his absence followed by a mass boycott from pundits – including Shearer, Micah Richards and Alex Scott – commentators and radio broadcasters across the BBC’s football coverage.
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Match of the Day aired without presenters, pundits, commentators of post-match interviews, brief highlights of each game being accompanied by crowd noise. The full show lasted just 20 minutes.
By the start of this week, a decision was made to reinstate Lineker and apologise for the fallout, and in his first live appearance since, the presented said he was ‘glad to be back’, before Shearer apologised.
“It’s good [to be here],” Shearer told BBC. “I just wanted to clear up and wanted to say how upset we were about all the audiences that missed out last weekend.
“It was a really difficult situation for everyone concerned and through no fault of their own, some really great people in TV and in radio were put in an impossible situation, that wasn’t fair.
“It’s good to get back to some sort of normality and be talking about football again.”
Lineker then simply said: ‘Absolutely, I echo those sentiments’, before swiftly moving on to focus in the build-up to City’s FA Cup clash with Burnley.