Gary Lineker has revealed that he was never meant to present Match of the Day on Saturday night after Mark Chapman stepped in to replace him. The former England striker instead fronted the BBC’s coverage of Manchester City’s FA Cup quarter-final showdown with Burnley earlier in the day.
“For those who missed it and are asking, I presented @BBCMOTD’s live FA Cup game earlier this evening,” Lineker wrote on Twitter on Saturday night. “MOTD tonight was always going to be presented by the brilliant Mark Chapman. It will have good replays so you can see what happened and understand penalty calls.”
Lineker hit the headlines last weekend after he was stood down from his Match of the Day duties after posting a tweet that accused the Home Office of using “language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s.”
The 62-year-old was then involved in a stand off with the BBC, with fellow stars refusing to appear on sports programmes across television and radio in a show of solidarity. football Focus and Final Score were cancelled, while Match of the Day was screened as a 20-minute highlights show without a presenter, pundits or commentators.
Ahead of Saturday’s clash at the Etihad Stadium, Lineker and Alan Shearer addressed the events of last weekend, with the former Newcastle forward saying: “I just needed to clear up and wanted to say how upset we were [for] all the audiences who missed out on 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, and that wasn't fair. So it's good to get back to some sort of normality and be talking about football.” And Lineker added: “I absolutely echo those sentiments.”
Lineker had earlier taken to Twitter to post a picture of himself alongside the caption: “Ah the joys of being allowed to stick to football.” And his usual charisma in front of the camera would have had some viewers purring with delight.
City were in imperious form in the north west and secured their safe passage through to the FA Cup semi-finals as they overcame their Championship opponents 6-0. Erling Haaland was the star of the show once again as he scored his sixth hat-trick of the season, with Julian Alvarez grabbing a brace and Cole Palmer also getting his name on the scoresheet.