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UK review following BBC suspension of Gary Lineker

The BBC slammed the British Audiovisual Group on Saturday over the departure of its star presenter Gary Lineker and the former footballer endorsed the support of many commentators and political figures in a tweet he criticized the government for.

“Lineker riot”, “BBC mutiny”, “The Beebs go too far”… Former player and host of the hugely popular ‘Match of the Day’ program Gary Lineker was announced on Friday night for temporary suspension. An outcry that it largely overshadowed Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s visit to Paris the day before made the front pages of British newspapers.

The former England striker, who has presented the show since 1999, was suspended by the British Audiovisual Corporation on Tuesday after criticizing the Conservative government’s new bill that would bar migrants coming through the English Channel from seeking asylum in the UK. UN

It was a “cruel policy for the most vulnerable, not unlike the one used by Germany in the 1930s,” he wrote on Twitter, where the 62-year-old former player regularly shares his progressive views with his 8.8 million followers.

– support wave –

The BBC had initially said it would speak to the presenter. On Friday, the audiovisual board decided to stop presenting ‘Match of the Day’ until it reaches a clear agreement with (Gary Lineker) on the use of social media”.

Reactions were not long in coming: six commentators took these “circumstances” into account and announced their departure, as did project advisers such as former England internationals Ian Wright and Alan Shearer.

As a result, due to staff shortages, the afternoon ‘Football Focus’ show was replaced at the last minute with a show about buying and selling antiques, while a restoration show aired at 4:30 pm (1:30 pm) local time. GMT) instead of ‘final score’.

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As for ‘Match of the Day’, a real institution in the UK, where the show has been on air since 1964, it is still in the series this weekend, but there is no review and no presenter, the BBC has revealed in a plea for support. The former player has surpassed 165,000 signatures.

“We regret these changes and recognize they are disappointing for BBC Sport fans,” the channel said in a statement. We are working to resolve the situation.

At the political level, the decision of the Audiovisual Committee was condemned by many personalities, from the Labor opposition to the Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who called the position of the BBC “indefensible” which, in his opinion, would endanger freedom of expression in its face. political pressure”.

According to The Daily Express newspaper this Saturday, 36 British Conservative MPs have written to the group’s chief executive, Tim Davey, to apologize “unreservedly” on the part of the presenter.

“The BBC has cast doubt on its own credibility by appearing to bow to government pressure,” said Greg Dyke, the BBC’s former director-general.

– Impartiality –

The BBC has been under constant criticism of late with accusations that it has distorted its Brexit coverage and focused on the concerns of urban elites.

The group said it made impartiality a “priority” and, on government advice, Richard Sharp was appointed chairman of the BBC in 2021.

The appointment came under fire after the former banker, a well-known Conservative Party donor, allegedly helped former prime minister Boris Johnson secure an £800,000 ($960,000) loan ahead of his appointment.

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Gary Lineker, who scored 48 goals for England before retiring in 1994, has not reacted publicly to the suspension but reiterated this week that he fully stands by his words.

Nicknamed ‘Mr Nice’ for his irrepressible behavior throughout his career (never receiving a yellow card), he has a habit of voicing his political views on social media, particularly against Brexit and protecting migrants.

Lineker began his career in his hometown of Leicester, watching the ‘Foxes’ play against Chelsea in the Premier League.

The new law, which aims to end the influx of migrants across the English Channel, has been criticized by human rights groups and London as “wanting to end the UN right of asylum”, according to the government.