Match of the Day 2 expected to be broadcast in ‘much-reduced’ format amid Lineker row


Match of the Day 2 coverage is expected to be “much-reduced” as the fallout from the Gary Lineker BBC row continues.

BBC Two will also broadcast the Women’s Super League Chelsea v Manchester United match using world feed commentary – without presenter or pundits around the coverage of the game.

It is the second day the BBC has been forced to reduce its sports coverage.

The BBC News sports editor Dan Roan said on Twitter: “At this stage BBC expecting the planned WSL match between Chelsea and Manchester United this afternoon to be on BBC2, but with no pre-match presentation.

“Expecting MOTD2 to follow similar much-reduced format to MOTD last night.”

Former Leicester City player and BBC pundit Gary Lineker with the FA Cup Trophy final match at the King Power Stadium, Leicester. Picture date: Sunday March 21, 2021.

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On Saturday, Football Focus and Final Score were taken off the air and Match Of The Day – usually presented by Lineker – was just 20 minutes long with no commentary or analysis and without even its distinctive theme tune.

The programmes were hit after sports presenters and pundits – including Ian Wright, Alan Shearer, Jason Mohammad and Alex Scott – said they would not work, in solidarity with Lineker, who was suspended after tweeting criticism of the government’s new asylum seeker bill.

However, Match of the Day was watched by 2.5 million people – up nearly half a million compared to the previous week.

The row over impartiality has turned into a major crisis for the public broadcaster.

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‘Sorry’ BBC boss wants Lineker back on air

BBC wants to get Lineker ‘back on air’

The BBC’s director general has said bosses are “working very hard” to find a solution.

Tim Davie told the BBC: “We are working very hard to resolve this situation and make sure we get output on air.

“I am in listening mode. I want to make sure that going forward we have a workable solution.”

He added: “To be clear, success for me is: Gary gets back on air.”

He will always speak up for people who don’t have a voice’

Lineker’s eldest son George said his father had been “a bit disappointed” by the BBC’s reaction but he would not “back down on his word”.

He added: “Dad is a good man, a good human, and I’m proud of him for standing by his word.

“That’s why he was pulled off the show – because he wouldn’t apologise. But he will always speak up for people who don’t have a voice.

“He is passionate about helping refugee charities – he took in two refugees who he is still in touch with and trying to help.

“It means a lot to him to stand up for people whose only hope is to escape a country with only the clothes on their back.

“That’s why he has been so firm.

“Will he go back to Match Of The Day? I think so – he loves Match Of The Day. But he won’t ever back down on his word.”

Hunt ‘profoundly disagrees’ with Lineker tweet

Hunt ‘profoundly disagrees’ with Lineker comments

Jeremy Hunt, speaking to Sophy Ridge on Sunday, said he “profoundly” disagrees with Lineker’s comments.

But the chancellor appeared to row back from demanding that Lineker apologise.

“If you believe in BBC independence, then it’s not for the chancellor or any other government minister to say how these issues are resolved,” he said.

Mr Hunt added: “The central thing that people want to know is that there isn’t any kind of political agenda in the way the BBC goes about its business, which I’m not saying there is, but that is the confidence people need to have.”

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