Gary Lineker boasts he was 'vindicated' after wading into migrant row and vows more political interventions
Published: 25/05/2023- 13:37
Updated: 25/05/2023- 15:08
Gary Lineker says he will continue making political statements in defiance of BBC guidelines and felt “vindicated” following an impartiality row with the broadcaster.
The presenter declared: “If I am told to not do something, it will drive me to do it even further," and the subject of BBC impartiality was “almost unresolvable”.
Lineker was suspended from presenting Match of the Day in March after he compared the Government’s new proposed approach on Channel migrants to 1930s Germany.
The corporation backed down and said that it would review its guidelines on what presenters can and cannot say.
Lineker was suspended from presenting Match of the Day in March after he compared the Government’s new proposed approach on Channel migrants to 1930s Germany
Now the ex-England striker has said that he felt “vindicated” and claimed the majority of British people disagree with the Rwanda policy.
“I am a little bit the kind of person that, if I am told to not do something, it will drive me to do it even further. I will continue to speak out," he told Channel 4.
He said the two subjects he feels most strongly are refugees and climate change.
Lineker added: “Obviously, sometimes people will say that crosses a political line a little bit, but almost everything does in life, and that includes football as well.
“People say, ‘Stick to football, stay out of politics’. They’re kind of entwined. So, yeah, I’ll carry on.”
He also reiterated his criticism of the Government’s Rwanda policy: “This does clearly cross into a political area where it’s talking about the Government. I disagree with their policy.
"I think most people do. I don’t know whether it will actually be even legal.”
Discussing the fact that he is the BBC’s highest-paid presenter, Lineker said it should have no bearing on what he is allowed to say.
The ex England striker has said that he felt 'vindicated' and claimed the majority of British people disagree with the Rwanda policy
He said: “I don’t see how much someone’s salary is relevant in any way, shape or form as to whether you have an opinion."
“I’m a freelance sports person. I don’t see how that is an issue at all with having views about the refugee crisis.
“There is nothing in my contract whatsoever [prohibiting] having an opinion on a different variety of things, and I think it’s actually really important that people with a platform do use it for the power of good.”
Lineker said of Tim Davie, the BBC’s director general: “It’s an incredibly difficult job. Impartiality is really tricky at the BBC and I think it’s an issue that is almost unresolvable.”