Gary Lineker, a former English footballer, is set to return to the BBC’s Match of the Day program after being suspended from the network. The decision to suspend Lineker was made after he posted comments on social media that were deemed to be in violation of the BBC’s editorial guidelines.
Despite the controversy, Lineker’s return to Match of the Day has been eagerly anticipated by fans of the show. The former striker is well known for his insightful analysis of football games, as well as his witty and engaging commentary.
Lineker has been a regular on Match of the Day since 1999, and his absence from the show has been felt by many viewers. His return is expected to provide a boost to the show’s ratings, which have been on the decline in recent years.
Tim Davie, the director general of the BBC, apologized on Monday for the widespread disruption to sports programming over the weekend, and announced an independent review of the corporation’s internal social media guidelines.
“Everyone recognises this has been a difficult period for staff, contributors, presenters and, most importantly, our audiences,” said Davie. “I apologise for this. The potential confusion caused by the grey areas of the BBC’s social media guidance that was introduced in 2020 is recognised. I want to get matters resolved and our sport content back on air.”
Lineker, the BBC’s highest-paid presenter, who receives £1.35m annually, welcomed the review and said he was keen to get back to presenting duties, including Match of the Day.
“I am glad that we have found a way forward,” he said in the joint statement with Davie. “I support this review and look forward to getting back on air.”
After the statement was released, Lineker tweeted his thanks for support of colleagues after a “surreal few days”. Pundits, led by Ian Wright, had refused to appear on Match of the Day while Lineker was suspended. Commentators also joined in, plunging BBC Sport’s coverage into chaos.
The BBC has not yet announced when Lineker will make his comeback, but sources suggest that it will be in time for the next Premier League season. The network has also stated that Lineker has been reminded of the importance of adhering to the BBC’s editorial guidelines and that he is fully committed to doing so in the future.