Gary Lineker is set to return as host of Match of the Day after being stood down last weekend for his tweets criticising the government’s migration policy.
It was announced by the BBC on Friday the former Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City forward would not present Match of the Day after his social media posts likened language used by Suella Braverman discussing the Home Office’s plans to stop migrant boats crossing the Channel, as similar to 1930s Germany.
His removal from Match of the Day promoted pundits Ian Wright and Alan Shearer to step down while commentators pulled out as Football Focus was also taken off the air after Alex Scott stepped down from her role as presenter. Radio coverage on 5Live Sport also ran a reduced service on Saturday.
Final Score was removed from the BBC TV schedule after presenters stood in solidarity with Lineker. The BBC was widely criticised for an apparent lack of consistency in applying their impartiality rules.
Confirming his return this weekend, Lineker Tweeted on Monday morning: “After a surreal few days, I’m delighted that we have navigated a way through this. 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.
“I have been presenting sport on the BBC for almost 3 decades and am immeasurably proud to work with the best and fairest broadcaster in the world. I cannot wait to get back in the MOTD chair on Saturday.
“A final thought: 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.
“We remain a country of predominantly tolerant, welcoming and generous people. Thank you.”
Match of the Day went ahead on Saturday but only lasted for 20 minutes with no presenters or commentary over the Premier League fixtures.
BBC Director General Tim Davie apologised over the weekend for disruption to BBC Sport and in a fresh statement has said an independent review will be conducted out on the company’s social media guidelines.
In a statement, Mr Davie said: “Everyone recognises this has been a difficult period for staff, contributors, presenters and, most importantly, our audiences.
“I apologise for this. Shortly, the BBC will announce who will conduct that review. Between now and the report Gary will abide by the editorial guidelines, that’s where we are.”