Alex Scott pulls out of BBC's Football Focus in support of Gary Lineker

alex scott holds a bbc sport microphone as she presents live coverage of a football game
BBC cancels Football Focus as Alex Scott drops outCatherine Ivill - The FA - Getty Images

BBC Football Focus host Alex Scott has dropped out of today's programme, which was subsequently removed from the BBC One schedule, in a show of support with Gary Lineker.

The move comes in the wake of the BBC's decision to remove Lineker from hosting Match of the Day this weekend, following his criticism of the UK government's policy on refugees.

Alex, who had already indicated on Friday night (March 10) that she would not step in to host Match of the Day, tweeted to say: "I made a decision last night that even though I love my show and we have had an incredible week winning an SJA for Football Focus that it doesn't feel right for me to go ahead with the show today.

"Hopefully, I will be back in the chair next week."

Football Focus did not air as planned on BBC One at midday, with the schedule showing a repeat of a 2020 episode of Bargain Hunt in its place.

Final Score will not air on the channel at 4.30pm this afternoon either, and it's been replaced in the schedules with a repeat of The Repair Shop. Digital Spy has reached out to the BBC for comment.

Final Score host Jason Mohammad previously tweeted to say he will not host today, writing: "Morning all. As you know, Final Score is a TV show very close to my heart.

"However – I have this morning informed the BBC that I will not be presenting the show this afternoon on BBC One."

Kelly Somers has also tweeted to say she will not appear on the BBC today, and BBC Radio 5 Live's coverage has also been affected, with programming including Fighting Talk replaced by podcasts.

Sky News is reporting that Mark Chapman indicated earlier on Saturday he won't be presenting 5 Live Sport coverage, and Dion Dublin tweeted to say he won't be appearing either, writing: "In solidarity with my BBC Sport colleagues NO 5Live for me today!"

The BBC issued a statement on Saturday afternoon apologising and noting that only "limited sport programming" would air this weekend, adding: "We are working hard to resolve the situation and hope to do so soon."

alex scott
Visionhaus - Getty Images

Scott, who succeeded Dan Walker as Football Focus' host in 2021, is the latest presenter to announce they would also miss this weekend's football coverage on the BBC.

Ian Wright and Alan Shearer both declined to appear on Match of the Day without Lineker.

Micah Richards, Mark Chapman and Jermaine Jenas were also among those confirming they would not appear on Saturday's (March 11) edition of the Premier League highlights show. The schedules show a shortened version of the programme lasting only 20 minutes.

match of the day ,gary lineker, alan shearer, ian wright,picture shows gary lineker, alan shearer, ian wright ,bbc ,pete dadds
Pete Dadds - BBC

A BBC spokesperson statement on Friday about Lineker read: "The BBC has decided he will step back from presenting Match of the Day until we've got an agreed and clear position on his use of social media."

Lineker had criticised a video released by Home Secretary Suella Braverman outlining a controversial policy that would see the UK detain migrants arriving via small boats and seek to deport them within weeks.

Writing on social media, he described the proposals as "beyond awful", and an "immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the '30s".

The corporation's decision that Lineker would have to step away from Match of the Day has been widely criticised.

gary lineker at leicester city v manchester united emirates fa cup quarter final
Laurence Griffiths - The FA - BBC

In the hours after its announcement, a second statement confirmed Saturday's edition of Match of the Day will "focus on match action without studio presentation or punditry" after several of Lineker's colleagues refused to appear.

Following that statement, Match of the Day's Steve Wilson tweeted that the BBC commentary team will not be taking part either, adding that "football fans who want to watch their teams should still be able to do so, as management can use World Feed commentary if they wish".

Wilson added that it's "a shame" the story has become about one man's opinion "rather than the tragedy of human beings struggling to find sanctuary".

"Having taken in refugees himself, Gary has surely earned the right to express his opinion," Wilson wrote to his Twitter followers.

Organisations which provide help and support to refugees include the Refugee Council and UN Refugee Agency, which also provide information on ways you can help those in need.

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