Match of the Day commentators boycott BBC show as Gary Lineker decision backfires | Football | Sport
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Match of the Day commentators boycott BBC show as Gary Lineker decision backfires | Football | Sport

The BBC face another nightmare ahead of Saturday's Match of the Day (MOTD) episode, with commentators set to boycott the show. Gary Lineker will step back from his presenting duties amid mounting Twitter controversy, while numerous high-profile pundits have made themselves unavailable in solidarity with the ex-England striker. 

A BBC spokesperson claimed on Friday that Lineker's Tweet comparing the government's asylum policy to 1930s Germany went against editorial guidelines and that he would 'step back' from his role as presenter.

Reports suggest that the 62-year-old did not agree to withdraw from Saturday's show. The news kickstarted a domino effect of blows to the broadcasting corporation with Ian Wright and Alan Shearer, who were set to appear alongside Lineker, informing the BBC that they would not turn up. 

A host of other frequent guests such as Jermaine Jenas and Micah Richards also announced that they would not be available, leaving the BBC to issue a statement confirming that the show will be aired without pundit analysis or a presenter for the first time in its 59-year history.

Even the simple match coverage may be tricky to produce, however, as BBC commentator Steve Wilson claims that commentators have decided to pull out. "As commentators on MOTD, we have decided to step down from tomorrow night’s broadcast," he wrote on Twitter.

"We are comforted that football fans who want to watch their teams should still be able to do so, as management can use World Feed commentary if they wish."

There have also been murmurs that Players are in discussions with the PFA over not doing MOTD interviews. All told, pulling together the flagship football highlights programme could prove virtually impossible for the BBC in a major blow following their decision to temporarily banish Lineker. 

Wright, who boasts over 300 career goals at club level alone, was the first to take a stand by Tweeting: "Everybody knows what Match of the Day means to me, but I’ve told the BBC I won’t be doing it tomorrow. Solidarity."

Shearer - the Premier League's all-time leading goalscorer - did not take long to follow suit with a statement of his own. "I have informed the BBC that I won’t be appearing on MOTD tomorrow night," it read. 

The BBC claim they do not plan to reinstate Lineker until all parties have agreed on a clear position on future social media use. 

Before it was announced that he would be stepping back, Lineker Tweeted earlier this week to say he was 'looking forward' to Saturday's show. "Well, it’s been an interesting couple of days," it read.

"Happy that this ridiculously out of proportion story seems to be abating and very much looking forward to presenting MOTD on Saturday. Thanks again for all your incredible support. It’s been overwhelming."

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