Gary Lineker is to return to hosting sport for the BBC following the Twitter row that has dominated the headlines in recent days.
The BBC said in a statement: “Gary Lineker and BBC management have reached a deal to get the presenter back on air, after the weekend’s disruption to BBC Sport schedules.”
Director General Tim Davie added: “Gary is a valued part of the BBC and I know how much the BBC means to Gary, and I look forward to him presenting our coverage this coming weekend.”
Davie also announced the BBC will launch an independent review into its social media guidelines, with a particular focus on freelancers outside news and current affairs like Lineker.
Gary Lineker said in the statement: “I am glad that we have found a way forward. I support this review and look forward to getting back on air.”
Davie went on to apologise again for loss of BBC Sport programming over the past weekend.
He said: “Everyone recognises this has been a difficult period for staff, contributors, presenters and, most importantly, our audiences. I apologise for this.”
Davie also recognises the “potential confusion caused by the grey areas of the BBC’s social media guidance” that was introduced in 2020, adding he wants to “get matters resolved and our sport content back on air”.
He goes on to emphasise how impartiality is “important to the BBC and the public as a whole, noting the corporation has a “commitment to impartiality in its Charter and a commitment to freedom of expression”.
Elsewhere, Sky News has reported that Lineker will also receive an apology from the broadcaster for the row that has raged over his tweets, while the i Newspaper has claimed he will also be allowed to continue tweeting about politics as normal, although the statement seems to suggest the jury is still out on this.
Lineker “stepped back” from his presenting duties on Friday, prompting fellow pundits to refuse to present footballing programmes and leaving the BBC sports schedule in chaos.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Lineker swiftly took to Twitter to share the news and thank his colleagues for support which included many high profile BBC presenters walking out in solidarity with Lineker over the weekend, crippling the BBC’s sports programming in the process:
After a surreal few days, I’m delighted that we have navigated a way through this. I want to thank you all for the incredible support, particularly my colleagues at BBC Sport, for the remarkable show of solidarity. Football is a team game but their backing was overwhelming. 1/4
— Gary Lineker —- (@GaryLineker) March 13, 2023
Lineker closed his Twitter announcement on a positive note following the row, which centred on his response to the government’s controversial latest plans for asylum seekers:
We remain a country of predominantly tolerant, welcoming and generous people. Thank you. ❤️ 4/4 — Gary Lineker —- (@GaryLineker) March 13, 2023
Lineker’s next appearance for the BBC will be the coverage of the FA Cup quarter-final clash between Manchester City and Burnley next Saturday evening. The match, which will reunite Burnley manager and City legend Vincent Kompany with his former colleagues and mentor Pep Guardiola, will kick off at 17:45 GMT, with coverage from the Etihad Stadium on BBC One starting at 17:25 GMT.
Parody sports journalist Soccer Guy probably spoke for many after the weekend’s farcical, truncated, commentary and analysis-free football on BBC TV and disrupted radio schedules: