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Football

12th Mar 2023

Gary Lineker set to return to BBC imminently, as talks continue

SportsJOE

Gary Lineker

The BBC is due to air two FA Cup quarter finals next weekend.

Gary Lineker is reportedly set to return to TV screens next weekend, following his removal from Match of the Day for apparently breaching BBC impartiality guidelines, writes Charlie Herbert.

The Match of the Day presenter was asked to step down from his role as host of the football highlights show after the corporation took issue with a tweet he published about the government’s immigration policy, which he compared to “Germany’s in the 30s.”

After he refused to make an apologetic statement on the show regarding his comments, the BBC made the decision to leave him off the show.

Following the announcement, a slew of Match of the Day pundits and football journalists across the BBC pulled out of their duties on Saturday.

As a result, the broadcaster’s flagship football highlights show went ahead with no presenters, pundits or commentary. The show lasted just 20 minutes and didn’t even feature the iconic MOTD theme tune, in an embarrassing turn of events for the BBC.

Gary LinekerGary Lineker is reportedly set to return to the BBC in time for its FA Cup coverage next weekend (Getty)

‘Growing confidence’ Gary Lineker will return

However, according to The Telegraph, Lineker is “poised to return to work for the BBC next week”, with a source from the corporation stating that they are “moving quickly” towards a resolution.

There is apparently a “growing confidence” that the 62-year-old will be back for next weekend, when the BBC will show live coverage of two FA Cup quarter-finals: Manchester City vs Burnley and Brighton vs Grimsby Town.

Meanwhile, the Independent reports that talks between the BBC and Lineker are “inching forward.”

The publication added that the broadcaster fears it will have to pay out millions to the former England striker if they were to sack him because of ambiguities in his contract. Senior figures apparently believe they would lose any legal claim brought by the presenter.

Making things even more interesting, ITV – who have been long-term admirers of Lineker – are willing to test the water and offer an eye-watering sum of money to convince the former England international to move. A source close to the corporation said:

“ITV will be excited by what is happening at the BBC – it’s the best chance they have had to get Gary.”

The Daily Mail have claimed that ITV would be willing to triple the amount the amount he currently earns. He reportedly earns £1.35m and ITV are willing to make him an offer that exceeds the £4m mark.

Football Focus and Final Score were also taken from air on Saturday as a result of presenters pulling out of their duties in support of Lineker, whilst football coverage on BBC Radio 5 Live was severely disrupted.

The BBC’s football coverage continued to be disrupted on Sunday as the fallout from Lineker’s suspension continued.

The broadcaster aired the top-of-the-table clash between Chelsea and Manchester United in the Women’s Super League with no pundits or presenters, whilst Match of the Day 2 will be given the same treatment as its Saturday equivalent, showing only the goals and highlights from Sunday’s games with no presenters or commentary

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