The former England footballer – who is the highest paid presenter at the BBC – tweeted a comparison of the language used to launch the Conservative government’s new asylum policy with Germany in the 1930s
Shortly after, on Friday (10 March), the BBC announced that Lineker would take a break from presenting the football highlights programme until an “agreed and clear position” on his social media use had been reached.
Lineker’s MOTD co-hosts Alan Shearer and Ian Wright then pulled out of presenting the show on Saturday in “solidarity”, while Micah Richards, Jermaine Jenas and Alex Scott also ruled themselves out of appearing on the show. Scott also said that she would not present Football Focus on Saturday.
How much is Gary Lineker paid?
In 2022, Lineker topped the BBC’s highest earners list for the fifth year in a row, taking home £1.35m.
The year before, he was paid £1.36m, having taken a pay cut in 2020 from his previous £1.75m salary. Lineker has presented Match of the Day since 1999, making him the show’s longest running presenter.
The BBC’s second highest paid broadcaster last year was Zoe Ball at £980,000. Steve Wright – whose Radio 2 show came to an end in September after 24 years – followed at £450,000, the same amount as Lineker’s Match of the Day co-host Alan Shearer.
Lineker’s temporary departure from Match of the Day has sparked divisions within the broadcaster, with the BBC confirming that the show would going ahead on Saturday without a presenter or any pundits.
Commenting on her decision to stand down from Football Focus, Scott tweeted: “I made a decision last night that even though I love my show and we have had an incredible week winning an SJA [Sports Journalism Award] 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....”
Many famous figures have spoken out in support of Lineker, with DJ Fatboy Slim projecting the presenter’s face on screen to raucous applause during a show in Manchester on Friday night.
Comedian Joe Lycett meanwhile invoked his viral Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg interview – in which he claimed to be “very right wing” – as he offered to stand in and host MOTD.