Express & Star

Gary Lineker back on air as Alan Shearer addresses suspension row

Lineker and Shearer fronted the BBC’s coverage of the FA Cup tie between Manchester City and Burnley on Saturday.


Alan Shearer spoke of his “upset” at the disruption to the BBC’s football coverage caused by Gary Lineker’s brief suspension as the two men returned to the air.

Shearer was one of the first high-profile figures to say he would not appear on Match of the Day last Saturday after Lineker was pulled from the BBC’s output over a tweet comparing the language used to launch a new Government asylum seeker policy with 1930s Germany.

A raft of other presenters, pundits and commentators followed suit and the programme eventually aired in a pared-down format lasting only 20 minutes.

It was a similar story for much of the BBC’s football coverage prior to the two parties putting out statements on Monday that brought the impasse to an end.

Lineker’s first presenting duty since the row came at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday evening, where he fronted live coverage of Manchester City’s FA Cup quarter-final against Burnley alongside Shearer and Micah Richards.

Lineker is known for his pithy remarks at the start of broadcasts but here he played things straight, introducing coverage of the match before passing over to Shearer to address the situation.

“Alan, it’s great to be here,” said Lineker, who had earlier tweeted: “Ah the joys of being allowed to stick to football,” with a picture of himself at the Etihad.

Shearer acknowledged the hurt that had been caused by the situation within the BBC as well as the disruption for fans.

“I just need to clear up and wanted to say how upset we were (for) all the audiences who missed out on last weekend,” he said on BBC One.

Alan Shearer (left) and Gary Lineker (right) in the BBC studio at the Etihad
Alan Shearer, left, and Gary Lineker, right, in the BBC studio at the Etihad Stadium (Richard Sellers/PA)

“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, and that wasn’t fair. It’s good to get back to some sort of normality and be talking about football again.”

Lineker responded simply: “Absolutely, I echo those sentiments,” before going on to talk about the match.

The BBC commissioned an independent review of its social media guidelines in response to the situation.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.