Ian Wright says BBC management caused hot mess over Gary Lineker impartiality row
Ian Wright has said managers at the BBC caused a “hot mess” at the weekend after asking Gary Lineker to step away from Match Of The Day.
The former England footballer joined fellow pundits – including Alan Shearer and Alex Scott – and the corporation’s presenters and reporters to walk out in solidarity with Lineker during the impartiality row.
Football coverage on BBC TV and radio was hit before the BBC on Monday apologised and reinstated Lineker as host of MOTD.
The row was sparked after the 62-year-old former England striker was taken off air for a tweet comparing the language used to launch a new Government asylum seeker policy to that of 1930s Germany.
Statement from BBC Director-General Tim Davie regarding Gary Lineker
➡️ https://t.co/Lzkor1pvuI pic.twitter.com/r6RCEbteev
— BBC Press Office (@bbcpress) March 13, 2023
During the beginning of the podcast Wrighty’s House, the 59-year-old said the row had been a “perfect distraction from what really matters”.
He added: “For me, they made a hot mess. I’m telling you, this is all from high up, I can’t blame my man (the head of BBC TV Sport) Philip Bernie, the BBC Sports team. All of this is over a tweet.”
It came as those at the broadcaster were invited to lunchtime sessions in Salford on Tuesday so director-general Tim Davie and chief content officer Charlotte Moore could “hear from staff, take questions and reflect on the events of the last few days”, the PA news agency understands.
Wright, who is also a pundit on MOTD, said: “At some stage surely, heads have got to roll…the mismanagement levels of this is, I can’t even tell you, but it’s done, everybody knows how I feel about it.
“I’m just pleased that it’s kind of come to something.”
On Monday, staff including sports presenter Mark Chapman returned after boycotting the weekend shows.
Mr Davie has also announced a review of social media guidelines at the broadcaster.
In a statement, he said: “Everyone recognises this has been a difficult period for staff, contributors, presenters and, most importantly, our audiences. I apologise for this.”