BBC’s sport schedule has been thrown into chaos amid widespread boycotts of its programmes by presenters, pundits and commentators.
It comes following the broadcaster’s decision to remove Gary Lineker from Match of the Day this weekend. The ex-England striker has been “stood down” following his comments on social media about the Government’s asylum seeker bill.
Following the BBC’s decision his colleagues announced they would boycott MOTD on Saturday (11 March). It was not limited to just the flagship show - with other programmes being impacted.
Neither Football Focus nor Final Score survived on BBC One, while 5 Live’s radio coverage was radically altered throughout the day. Former England internationals Alan Shearer and Ian Wright announced on Friday (10 March) their boycott of this weekend’s Match Of The Day.
Here is all you need to know:
Will Match of the Day 2 go ahead?
The BBC is expecting Match of the Day 2 to still air on Sunday (12 March) evening . However the regular host for Match of the Day 2 Mark Chapman did not participate in the BBC Radion 5Live Sport coverage on Saturday (11 March).
He has not yet confirmed if he will be appearing on the show. We will update the article when more information is available.
BBC intended to continue with MOTD despite not having any presenters or pundits. The regular commentators also announced that they would not participate in Saturday night’s episode.
The episode was limited to around 20 minutes, focusing on highlights.
Will MOTD 2 have commentary and pundits?
Sunday’s Match Of The Day 2 is also expected run with a reduced format - it could mean a lack of pundits, analysis and commentary in the same way Saturday’s MOTD was.
Is anyone boycotting MOTD 2?
The first sign that the boycott will extend beyond Saturday’s coverage came when former England and Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe said he would not appear on Sunday evening’s Match Of The Day 2.
What has the BBC said?
In a statement, a BBC spokesperson said: “The BBC will only be able to bring limited sport programming this weekend and our schedules will be updated to reflect that. We are sorry for these changes which we recognise will be disappointing for BBC sport fans.
“We are working hard to resolve the situation and hope to do so soon.”
The corporation’s director of sport, Barbara Slater, also issued an apology to staff for the disruption to the schedule. Within the letter, she said: “We are sorry about the impact that the news relating to Gary Lineker and Match Of The Day is having across the department this weekend.
“We understand how unsettling this is for all of you – the staff in BBC Sport and our freelance community – and we understand the strength of feeling which has been generated by this issue.”