The timeline of how chaos unfolded around Gary Lineker's tweets

BBC meltdown: The timeline of how chaos unfolded around Gary Lineker’s tweets which led to him being asked to step aside as Match of the Day host

  • Gary Lineker’s tweets on Tuesday sparked a week of chaos for the BBC 
  • Lineker was asked to step aside from Match of the Day for Saturday’s show 

It has been a week of chaos for the BBC after Gary Lineker was asked to step aside from presenting Saturday’s edition of Match of the Day following his tweets this week. 

The former Leicester and Tottenham striker, who has presented Match of the Day since 1999, compared the language used to launch a new Government crackdown on migrants arriving across the Channel in small boats to 1930s Germany. Lineker’s tweet was found to breach BBC impartiality rules.

It has been a week of chaos for the BBC in the aftermath of Gary Lineker’s tweets

Tuesday, March 7

Gary Lineker tweets in response to the Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s plan to ‘stop the boats’. At 2.20pm, he writes on the migrant crisis: ‘There is no huge influx. We take far fewer refugees than other major European countries. This is just an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s.’

Gary Lineker’s tweet on Tuesday led to him being asked to step aside from Match of the Day 

Wednesday, March 8

The Daily Mail reveals that BBC bosses will rebuke Lineker for his political bias, with corporation sources saying ‘it’s clear that a line has been crossed’.

Thursday, March 9

Lineker tweets to thank his supporters for their ‘incredible support’. However, the BBC’s news staff is said to be ‘boiling’ with anger that his anti-Tory tweets flout the corporation’s impartiality rules. Tim Davie, the BBC director general, says: ‘The BBC absolutely puts the highest value on impartiality and that’s clearly important to us.’

BBC director general Tim Davie says the organisation put the highest value on impartiality

Friday, March 10

An extraordinary meltdown at the broadcaster begins late in the afternoon when it is announced that Lineker will ‘step back’ from MOTD until there is ‘an agreed and clear position on his use of social media’.

His former colleague Dan Walker reveals that Lineker was ‘told’ to step down. In a show of solidarity, Ian Wright and Alan Shearer, the pundits on MOTD, say they will not take part in the show, too. By the end of the day, the programme’s commentators have all stepped down from their duties as well.

Will Gary Lineker return to MOTD in the future?

Yes – 4/6 

No – 11/10

Odds provided by Paddy Power 

Saturday, March 11

The Daily Mail reveals that the Premier League informed clubs that players and managers would be stood down from their post-match MOTD commitments. As other BBC sport colleagues decline to replace Lineker and his colleagues, it is announced that the programme will run without a presenter or team of pundits. The chaos spreads as BBC 1’s Football Focus is replaced by Bargain Hunt, Final Score dropped and Fighting Talk replaced by a podcast on Radio 5 Live. The evening’s 606 football phone-in is also cancelled.

Lineker was seen in the stands at Leicester on Saturday after stepping aside from MOTD

However, Radio Five Live’s live football show goes ahead, with commentator Ian Dennis saying: ‘It’s a very difficult time for BBC Sport and those that work in the department. Personally I have found today very difficult. But I’m a BBC staff member and today like every Saurday afternoon we provide a service to you.’ 

Lineker, meanwhile, is seen in the stands at Leicester, his former club, where fans sing his name in support.

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