Alex Scott awkwardly ignored her return to Football Focus on Saturday following her absence from the BBC show last weekend. Scott was among the stars who forced the BBC to cancel some of their football programmes after Gary Lineker had been told to stand down from his Match of the Day presenting duties following his tweets that accused the Home Office of using “language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s.”
“Hello and a very warm welcome to Football Focus,” Scott began as the show got underway. “Martin Keown and Nedum Onuoha are with me for today’s show. But a shorter half an hour show in which we will be previewing a huge weekend of league and cup football as well as assessing what is next for Crystal Palace after they sacked manager Patrick Vieira yesterday.”
Scott failed to make any reference to the events of last weekend as she previewed the rest of the show before introducing a VT of a chat she had had with Burnley manager Vincent Kompany in the lead-up to his side’s FA Cup quarter-final showdown with Manchester City.
Lineker and the BBC were involved in a stand off, with Football Focus and Final Score being pulled, before Match of the Day was shown as a 20-minute highlights show without a presenter, pundits or commentary.
But on Monday, the BBC confirmed that Lineker would return to television screens this weekend. “Everyone recognises this has been a difficult period for staff, contributors, presenters and, most importantly, our audiences. I apologise for this,” said BBC Director-General Tim Davie.
“Impartiality is important to the BBC. It is also important to the public. The BBC has a commitment to impartiality in its Charter and a commitment to freedom of expression. Gary is a valued part of the BBC and I know how much the BBC means to Gary, and I look forward to him presenting our coverage this coming weekend.”
And Lineker released his own statement, that read: ““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.”