Gary Lineker jokes about ‘quiet’ week in first TV appearance since BBC impartiality row

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  • March 17, 2023
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Gary Lineker has joked about having a “quiet” week in his first TV appearance since resolving his impartiality row with the BBC.

The Match of the Day host, appearing on La Liga TV, also praised the “amazing amount of support” from friends and colleagues.

The former footballer, 62, reiterated the situation had been “resolved” and said he would be returning to his BBC presenting role on Saturday.

Asked how his week had been, Lineker told La Liga TV: “Really quiet! Nothing much going on. You could say it’s been an interesting week but I’m still here, still punching.

“It was interesting and also hugely gratifying. I had an amazing amount of support from my friends and colleagues which was quite beautiful actually.”

He added: “It was totally disproportionate the whole thing but we’re OK. It’s resolved, I’m relieved, I’m back to work tomorrow and all is well with the world.”

It comes after BBC director general Tim Davie announced that Lineker would be returning on Saturday.

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BBC did ‘right thing’ over Lineker row

Mr Davie apologised for the recent impartiality row and announced a review of social media guidelines at the broadcaster.

The row was sparked after Lineker was taken off air for a tweet comparing the language used to launch a new government asylum seeker policy to that of 1930s Germany.

He was subsequently asked to “step back” from the popular football highlights show, prompting a boycott by his fellow football pundits and commentators, hitting TV and radio coverage across the BBC.

But the row was resolved earlier this week, with Lineker posting on Twitter: “After a surreal few days, I’m delighted that we have navigated a way through this.

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“I want to thank you all for the incredible support, particularly my colleagues at BBC Sport, for the remarkable show of solidarity. Football is a team game but their backing was overwhelming.”

He continued: “However difficult the last few days have been, it simply doesn’t compare to having to flee your home from persecution or war to seek refuge in a land far away. It’s heartwarming to have seen the empathy towards their plight from so many of you.”

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Lineker also thanked Mr Davie “for his understanding during this difficult period”, adding that he had “an almost impossible job keeping everybody happy, particularly in the area of impartiality”.

Mr Davie said the “potential confusion” was caused by the “grey areas of the BBC’s social media guidance” and promised to launch an independent on the guidance.

Since the row, Lineker has changed his Twitter profile picture to a photo of himself next to a George Orwell quote, which is written on the wall outside of the BBC.

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear,” the quote reads.