Alan Shearer has refused to apologise for boycotting Match of the Day last weekend and backed Gary Lineker while speaking the BBC‘s live FA Cup coverage. The former England striker returned to screens for the first time since his suspension and the subsequent chaos at the broadcaster last weekend.
The BBC was thrust into a crisis last Friday night after announcing that Lineker would be taken off air over a tweet that compared the language surrounding the Government’s immigration policy to that of 1930s Germany.
Many of the 62-year-old’s colleagues including Ian Wright, Alan Shearer and Alex Scott refused to star on any BBC Sport programmes over the weekend as a result of the decision, leaving the broadcasters’ output embarrassingly depleted. Football Focus and Final Score did not air while Match of the Day was restricted to short 20-minute shows with no punditry or commentary.
The actions of Lineker’s colleagues forced the BBC into a humiliating U-turn on Monday and he returned to screens as he fronted the broadcaster’s live coverage of Manchester City’s clash with Burnley in the FA Cup. Shearer addressed the situation as he refused to apologise.
“I wanted to say how upset we were that all the audiences missed out on last weekend. It was a really difficult situation for everyone concerned and through no fault of their own some really great people in TV and radio were put in an impossible situation. It’s good to get back to some sort of normality and be talking about football again”.
Lineker agreed with Shearer’s comments before switching his attention to the upcoming game, stating: “Absolutely, I echo those sentiments”.
The BBC announced that Lineker would be allowed to make his return to TV on Monday as the corporation conducted a review of social media guidelines for their non-news freelance employees.
After his return was confirmed Lineker tweeted about the situation as he looked back on a ‘surreal’ weekend.
“After a surreal few days, I’m delighted that we have navigated a way through this,” he wrote. “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”.
Lineker is also set to lead coverage of Brighton vs Grimsby tomorrow while Mark Chapman will take charge of Match of the Day on Saturday night as his 62-year-old colleague focuses on live action.