Gary Lineker has thanked the football world for their “incredible support” after the BBC stood him down from presenting Match of the Day due to his human rights comments.
It all came to a head on Friday when it became public that the BBC had asked Lineker to temporarily step down from presenting Match of the Day after rightly opposing the Tory government’s new anti-refugee proposals.
In the wake of the announcement, Lineker was immediately backed by fellow presenters, pundits and commentators, who all refused to put their voices to the BBC’s coverage over the weekend.
It ensured no live coverage on BBC Radio 5 Live nor Football Focus, with Match of the Day running with highlights without analysis or commentary.
On Monday, it was announced that Lineker will resume his hosting duties, with the BBC apologising and launching a review into their social media guidelines.
And Lineker took to Twitter to show his appreciation for “the remarkable show of solidarity” shown to him, and made sure to again highlight the policy that kickstarted it all.
“After a surreal few days, I’m delighted that we have navigated a way through this,” Lineker penned.
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
“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.
“I have been presenting sport on the BBC for almost three decades and am immeasurably proud to work with the best and fairest broadcaster in the world. I cannot wait to get back in the MOTD chair on Saturday.
“A final thought: however difficult the last few days have been, it simply doesn’t compare to having to flee your home from persecution or war to seek refuge in a land far away.
“It’s heartwarming to have seen the empathy towards their plight from so many of you.
“We remain a country of predominantly tolerant, welcoming and generous people. Thank you.”
Jurgen Klopp was one of many prominent figures who backed Lineker, failing to understand why his comments created a “sh**storm.”
“How I understand it, I cannot see any reason why you would ask somebody to step back for saying that. I can’t,” he told reporters on Saturday.
He added: “But if I understand it right, this is about a message, an opinion, about human rights and that should be possible to say.”