Gary Lineker suggests his 'time is nearly up' on Match of the Day

·2-min read
Gary Lineker - Danny Lawson/PA
Gary Lineker - Danny Lawson/PA

Gary Lineker has suggested his time hosting Match of the Day is “nearly up”, and hinted at his possible successor.

The presenter’s recent spell off the air amid a row with the BBC over breaching impartiality rules has led to speculation that he may move to a rival broadcaster.

The former England striker has suggested that Jermaine Jenas, a regular contributor to the programme and a recent addition to the One Show, could succeed him as the lead presenter.

Speaking to colleagues Alan Shearer and Micah Richards on the Match of the Day podcast, Lineker jokingly suggested that his advancing age might bring his tenure as host to an end.

He said that Jenas is “probably drifting more towards my role”, adding:  “He's doing it really well, doing The One Show.”

Asked if he was nervous about the prospect of a successor challenging his position, he said:  “I'm ancient. My time is nearly up.”

Jermaine Jenas - Serena Taylor/Newcastle United
Jermaine Jenas - Serena Taylor/Newcastle United

His comments come after a row with the BBC over his comparison of Suella Braverman’s rhetoric when announcing the government's small boats policy to that heard in 1930s Germany.

The dispute has led to speculation Lineker would soon leave the broadcaster, and TV industry insiders have suggested that the presenter and the Match of the Day format could be poached by rivals, with Channel 4 and ITV understood to be interested in securing the rights to show Premier League highlights.

The BBC’s current rights package is worth £211.5 million, covering three seasons until 2024-25.  Richard Masters, chief executive of English football’s top league, recently stated that auctioning for its next television packages would begin this year.

The BBC is aiming to prevent any future high-profile impartiality disputes by reviewing rules for its stars, with director Tim Davie hoping to remove any “grey areas” in current guidance.

Announcing former ITN Chief Executive John Hardie as the head of this review process on March 31, Mr Davie said: “The BBC has important commitments to both impartiality and to freedom of expression. We also have a commitment to those working with us, and for us, to be clear in what we expect from them.

“The social media guidance is crucial to achieving this, particularly in a fast-paced, ever-changing world of digital media. This review will ensure this guidance is clear, proportionate and appropriate, now and in the future.”