Mark Lawrenson has claimed that BBC dropped him from its football coverage because he is “65 [years old] and a white male”.
The former Liverpooldefender announced he would be retiring from his role as a pundit and co-commentator after 30 years in May. However now in an interview with the Sunday Times, he has claimed that he was in fact dropped by the BBC.
Lawrenson, who also played for Preston North End and Brighton & Hove Albion, was most recently part of BBC’s Football Focus programme.
What has Mark Lawrenson said?
The Guardian reports that Lawrenson said: “The Beeb are probably the worst at giving you bad news. It was just: ‘We’re going on the road next season with [Football] Focus. We don’t think it is really something for you. In all my time at the BBC, nobody ever said ‘you can’t say this or that’, but the ‘woke’ thing drives me bonkers.”
He did however praise the current Football Focus host Alex Scott, who has taken over for Dan Walker after he left the role. But Lawrenson added that the former England international had been “thrown in” to the role.
He said: “She has done well in fairness to her, and is a lovely kid. Some people don’t want her to be any good, but she has got better and better. From the outset, we were were trying to make the programme as easy as possible for her. It was a little bit frustrating because she would ask you a question and then move on … I would want to say something [else], but I just had to shut up because she was just learning.”
The BBC has yet to respond to Lawrenson’s comments.