Ian Wright says he won’t appear on Match of the Day in ‘solidarity’ with Gary Lineker
Specialist for the day Ian Wright said he would not appear on the show on Saturday in “solidarity” with Gary Lineker.
It comes after the BBC announced Lineker would ‘step back’ from presenting the BBC’s flagship sports program following his comments on Twitter about government plans to stop migrants crossing the English Channel in small boats.
The presenter, 62, got confused over impartiality after comparing the language used to launch the new asylum policy with 1930s Germany.
Following the announcement, the former Arsenal striker Wright tweeted: “Everyone knows what match of the day means to me but I told the BBC I won’t do it tomorrow. Solidarity.”
It is not yet clear who will replace him on Saturday’s edition of Match Of The Day.
The announcement sparked a widespread reaction online with many supporters for Lineker.
BBC Breakfast and Football Focus presenter Dan Walker tweeted: “Used to sit for @GaryLineker on MOTD…not sure I’d feel like it this weekend. What a waste !”
Former BBC correspondent Jon Sopel drew a comparison to company chairman Sharp, tweeting: “Luckily there are no guidelines for producers on whether you should report facilitating a loan of £800,000 to a prime minister while running for a job as chairman of a broadcasting organisation….”
Former Manchester United and England defender Gary Neville, who commentates for Sky Sports, tweeted in response to a report about Lineker: “When you face the Tories and the system! Horrible people we need are gone. Let’s go for a (glass of wine emoji).
Retired England goalkeeper Ben Foster also wrote a message of support under Ian Wright’s tweet, replying: “Heck yes Wrighty.” Soccer Saturday presenter Jeff Stelling responded to Ian Wright’s “solidarity” message with Gary Lineker, tweeting: “Well done Wrighty.”
Alastair Campbell called the BBC’s decision “an act of political cowardice” which threatens democracy.
The former Labor journalist and spin doctor described the decision to announce Lineker was stepping down from Match Of The Day as “pathetic” and “cowardly” during an appearance on BBC Radio 5 Live.
Asked about his stance on the matter, he said: “I’m going to be even more outspoken now because this is, I’m afraid, an act of utter political cowardice. If it was wrong in principle, they should have fired him the other day.
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