BBC MUTINY drags on: Alan Shearer uses prime time slot to brazenly attack corporation for Gary Lineker mess - 'It wasn't fair'

Alan Shearer BBC row

BRAZEN: Alan Shearer took the opportunity to blast BBC bosses on live TV

Richard Jeffries

By Richard Jeffries

Published: 18/03/2023

- 18:17

Updated: 18/03/2023

- 18:18

Football pundit speaks out as 'mate' Lineker returned to BBC having forced bosses into humiliating climbdown

Alan Shearer brazenly attacked his BBC employers for the Gary Lineker shambles live on air as Match of the Day returned to TV screens.

The 52-year-old - who went on strike last week when Lineker was suspended for criticising the Government's migration policy - said he was "upset" that sport got pulled from the schedules.

But, instead of focusing on the sport during coverage of the Manchester City v Burnley FA Cup quarter-final, Shearer took the opportunity to stick the knife further into beleaguered BBC bosses.

A croaky Gary Lineker - who appeared to be suffering from a severe cold - turned to the former Newcastle star saying "Alan, it's great to be here."

Shearer replied: "Yes, it's good." But then went on: "I just wanted to clear up and say how upset we were that all the [BBC Sport] 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 and that wasn't fair."

Lineker replied: "I absolutely echo those sentiments."

Fellow studio guest and former Manchester City star Micah Richards didn't comment on the trio's return.

Shearer was outspoken in his support of Lineker, Tweeting within hours of his suspension: “I have informed the BBC that I won’t be appearing on MOTD.”

He also "liked" a comment on Twitter from Time journalist Henry Winter that "BBC bosses need to appreciate better" how important Match of the Day is and what Gary Lineker brings to it.

Lineker, 62, posted a photo of himself at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester and told his Twitter followers: “Ah the joys of being allowed to stick to football.”

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He then posted another picture with Shearer and Richards in the studio ahead of the game calling them “teammates”.

Earlier Lineker told LaLiga Sports TV he is “still here, still punching”.

He added: “It was totally disproportionate the whole thing, but we’re OK. It’s resolved, I’m relieved.”

Many of Lineker’s BBC Sport colleagues walked out in “solidarity” last weekend, with highlight shows significantly shorter than usual and aired without presentation or commentary.

MOTD aired for only 20 minutes last Saturday without accompanying commentary or analysis from presenters, with Sunday’s edition following a similar format and running for just 15 minutes.

GB News hosted The Alternative Match of the Day, which was seen by millions across TV and online.

Gary Lineker Match of the Day row

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BBC director-general Tim Davie said in a back-tracking statement the corporation has commissioned an independent review of its social media guidelines, particularly for freelancers.

Mr Davie apologised for what he acknowledged had been “a difficult period for staff, contributors, presenters and, most importantly, our audiences” and described the BBC’s commitment to freedom of expression and impartiality as a “difficult balancing act”.

He added: “The potential confusion caused by the grey areas of the BBC’s social media guidance that was introduced in 2020 is recognised. I want to get matters resolved and our sport content back on air.”

After the official BBC statement was published, Lineker tweeted that he was “delighted” to have navigated a way through the row after a “surreal few days”.

He added: “I have been presenting sport on the BBC for almost three 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.”

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