Following a dispute involving Gary Lineker, the BBC has announced that Match of the Day will be broadcast this weekend without a presenter or pundits.
On Friday, the BBC announced that Lineker, who has hosted the show since 1999, would step back from his presenting duties until there was an agreement on his social media use.
Lineker had made comments on Twitter that criticised the UK government’s new asylum policy, a breach of BBC guidelines.
Despite receiving widespread support from social media users and his colleagues, including Ian Wright, Alan Shearer, Alex Scott, Micah Richards, and Jermaine Jenas, who all refused to appear on the show in solidarity, the BBC has focused on match action without presentation or punditry this weekend.
The broadcaster said it acknowledged and respects the position of some of its pundits who have refused to appear while the situation with Lineker remains unresolved.
The dispute highlights the difficulties faced by broadcasters in relation to social media use by their employees.
Lineker, who is a freelance employee, had expressed his political views on Twitter, which the BBC deemed inappropriate, as he was seen to have taken sides on a political issue.
The BBC has stated that Lineker should refrain from taking sides on party dynamics, political issues, or political controversies.
However, the situation has proved divisive, with Lineker’s colleagues expressing their support for him, and the BBC taking the unusual step of broadcasting a show without a presenter or pundits.
At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, the importance of having fans in the stadium cheering on their teams was highlighted.
The makeshift electronic sounds adopted when fans were yet to be allowed into match venues couldn’t replicate the energy the vociferous supporters bring into each match day.
Now, there will be a test of what Match of the Day, the popular BBC show, will look like without the array of pundits that make the show keenly followed across the world.
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