BBC pay: Gary Lineker remains corporation’s top earner despite pay cut

·2-min read
Gary Lineker hosts Match of the Day as well as coverage of major football tournaments  (The FA via Getty Images)
Gary Lineker hosts Match of the Day as well as coverage of major football tournaments (The FA via Getty Images)

Match of the Day host Gary Lineker remains the BBC’s top earner, despite having agreed to a pay cut of just under £400,000.

The BBC’s annual report revealed Lineker earned £1.36m in the 2020/21 financial year, down from £1.75m in 2019/20.

The former England footballer was the highest earning presenter in the 2019/20 financial year, but signed a contract last year.

The contract will last for another four years and sees presenter taking a 23 per cent pay cut on his previous deal, the BBC said.

At the time, Lineker said: “I love working with the BBC, and am very proud to continue to be a part of their outstanding football team.”

The BBC’s report also showed Radio 2’s Zoe Ball took a voluntary pay cut. However, she remains the broadcaster’s second-highest paid star, with an annual wage of £1.13m.

This is down from £1.36m last year. Her current salary is £980,000, but the £1.13m figure included in the report accounts for some of her wages paid at the end of last year.

Overall, the BBC’s wage bill for all on-air talent overall has been cut from £144m last year to £130m this year.

Broadcasters earning more than £150,000 at the corporation saw their earnings collectively cut by £2.2m.

The BBC’s director general Tim Davie said that the majority of renegotiations regarding pay with top presenters had been “mutual and constructive”.

“Clearly, as a management team, we want to get more value and we’re willing to make tough decisions to that extent,” he said.

“But I think these conversations have all been constructive - as with Zoe Ball when she came forward and said she wanted to adjust her salary. I think everyone is absolutely with the program on that one.”

Five of the BBC’s six top earners - including DJ Steve Wright, newsreader Huw Edwards and Question Time presenter Fiona Bruce - now earn less than they did last year. Radio and television presenter Stephen Nolan, meanwhile, saw his salary increase by £15,000.

Conservative MP Julian Knight, who is the chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS), said however: “It’s welcome that some of the BBC’s top-earners have agreed to ‘significant reductions’ in their salaries this year. Yet despite taking a pay cut, Gary Lineker is still earning £1.36 million.”

In a move instigated by the government, the BBC has been made to publish the names of those who earn more than £150,000 each year since 2017. Lineker has come top of the list on every occasion.

The former England captain is the host of Match Of The Day, which he first presented in 1999. He also fronts the BBC’s coverage of the FA Cup, major football tournaments, including most recently Euro 2020, and BBC Sports Personality Of The Year.

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