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UK: BBC in crisis after Lineker’s exit

Status: 03/12/2023 11:09 am

ok “Match of the Day” is the name given to Great Britain’s most important football event. No one would have thought that within hours it would turn into a political issue about refugee policy and press freedom. But that’s what happened.

Britain’s BBC’s decision to ban star presenter and former national footballer Gary Lineker from its screens for criticizing the Conservative government’s asylum policy has sparked a storm of anger – and plunged the broadcaster into deep crisis.

Experts, TV staff and football players showed solidarity with the 62-year-old – as a result, Great Britain’s most important football program “Match of the Day” had to do without a moderator and experts on Saturday.

BBC director-general Tim Davey announced on Sunday that Lineker would return to the air. “Garry is a great TV journalist. For me, a win means that Garry is back on the air,” Davey told the channel, according to the BBC. However, he did not explain how the dispute should be resolved. Everyone wanted to resolve the situation peacefully, Davey said simply.

Solidarity wave after English anchor Gary Lineker’s leave

Sven Lohmann, ARD London, Daily Topics 11:15 pm, March 11, 2023

Linegar accuses the government of Nazi rhetoric

It started with Lineker’s tweet on Tuesday in which he compared the Conservative government’s rhetoric on refugees to Nazi rhetoric from the 1930s.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his home minister, Suella Braverman, earlier presented a bill that would deny those who entered Germany illegally the right to seek asylum. In this context, Braverman spoke of an “invasion” of boat people. The British government wants to first house migrants who enter the country without official permission in shelters and then deport them to Rwanda or other countries.

Criticism of the draft law came not only from the opposition but also from the UN refugee agency UNHCR, which accused Great Britain of breaching international obligations.

Several Conservative MPs have called for consequences for the former footballer, but Lineker has refused to apologise. The BBC finally suspended the highest-paid presenter on Friday.

Wave of solidarity with Lineker

What the company didn’t expect: His colleagues on “Match of the Day” announced that former soccer stars Ian Wright and Alan Shearer would not be on the show. Many BBC colleagues joined.

The PFA, the Footballers’ Association, backed the Premier League players who refused to give interviews for the programme. Other sports programs on radio and television also had to be cancelled. The BBC apologized to fans on Saturday for the lackluster coverage.

Lineker regularly shares political views

Lineker is a football icon in Germany like Jurgen Klinsmann or Rudy W├Âller and has been the face of the “day game” for over 20 years. He has 8.8 million followers on Twitter and has repeatedly shared political views that have clashed with the Conservative government in London in the past. After all, the moderator, who works independently at the BBC, has spoken out against Brexit, making powerful enemies among the Tories.

The BBC has been under pressure from Brexit supporters and right-wing populists in the conservative Tory party for years. According to their account, the public broadcaster is trapped by left-leaning journalists representing the urban elite. Actions such as the Lineker case appear to be expected obedience on the part of the BBC to avoid such criticism.