People Question Why BBC Chairman Kept His Job As Gary Lineker 'Steps Back'
Boris Johnson, Gary Lineker and Richard Sharp.
People are questioning Gary Lineker’s removal from Match of the Day by pointing to the BBC’s chairman keeping his job despite helping to secure a £800,000 loan guarantee for Boris Johnson.
On Friday, the BBC said the former footballer would “step back” from fronting the show until there is “an agreed and clear position on his use of social media”.
It was later confirmed Saturday’s Match of the Day is to go ahead without presenters and pundits after several big names pulled out of the show.
The row was sparked by his response on Twitter to a Home Office video in which home secretary Suella Braverman unveiled the government’s plans to stop migrants crossing the Channel on small boats.
The ex-England striker tweeted: “There is no huge influx. We take far fewer refugees than other major European countries.
“This is just an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the ’30s.”
On social media, many were questioning the broadcaster’s approach to impartiality by invoking the corporation’s chairman Richard Sharp, who has been involved in a cronyism row over him helping the former PM secure an £800,000 loan facility.
Former BBC correspondent Jon Sopel tweeted: “Lucky there are no producer guidelines on whether you need to declare facilitating an £800k loan to a prime minister while applying for a job as chairman of a broadcasting organisation…”
Others were of a similar mind ...
Lucky there are no producer guidelines on whether you need to declare facilitating an £800k loan to a prime minister while applying for a job as chairman of a broadcasting organisation…. https://t.co/Ec2NVFCvZh
— Jon Sopel (@jonsopel) March 10, 2023
those BBC rules in full:
- Attenborough can't broadcast a show about UK nature loss.
- Lineker can't tweet criticising the government.
- Alan Sugar *can* tweet criticising strikes.
- The BBC chair *can* be a Tory donor who didn't disclose he facilitated a loan to Boris Johnson.
— Henry Mance (@henrymance) March 10, 2023
This is pathetic for so many reasons. https://t.co/q1mpyhFbFu
— Richard Osman (@richardosman) March 10, 2023
What a load of bollocks this is, Richard Sharp https://t.co/IPxKQepQx9
— John Harris (@johnharris1969) March 10, 2023
That’s fine as long as Richard Sharp is stepping back from his Chairman duties https://t.co/OwswWvJDoo
— Rory Cellan-Jones (@ruskin147) March 10, 2023
You can help sort a loan for the Prime Minister and run the BBC or you can work for Downing Street and go onto the BBC board, but you cannot present a football show and tweet in defence of refugees https://t.co/iK9B6b2yhd
— Alexander Brown (@AlexofBrown) March 10, 2023
So Lineker steps down, but BBC chairperson Richard Sharp, who helped facilitate an £800,000 loan for Boris Johnson and who's personally donated £400,000 to the Conservative party stays in his job ... got it... impartiality
— Otto English (@Otto_English) March 10, 2023
What is the loan story about?
The Sunday Times first reported that Canadian education entrepreneur Sam Blyth had agreed to act as guarantor of a £800,000 line of credit for Johnson while he was still prime minister.
A follow-up story in Sunday Times revealed that Richard Sharp helped to secure the arrangement just weeks before he became chairman of the BBC.
The paper reported that Sharp, who has also donated £400,000 to the Conservatives in the past, met with Simon Case, the cabinet secretary, to discuss the loan arrangement.
Sharp also had dinner at Chequers with Blyth and Johnson before the loan was agreed, but all three men deny that the then PM’s financial affairs were discussed.
In an email to BBC staff, Sharp said his role was merely to “seek an introduction” for Blyth “to the relevant official in government”.
However, acknowledging the affair is a “distraction” for the BBC, and said he was referring his appointment as chairman to the corporation’s nominations committee.
Here’s how others were reacting to the Lineker news ...
I wonder what the end result would have been had @GaryLineker Tweeted his whole hearted support for the Government’s immigration policy & had used the same inflammatory words like ‘invasion’ that were deployed by @SuellaBraverman ?
This 💯 would not have been the end result. pic.twitter.com/BE6fS1HdLH
— Simon Thomas (@SimonThomasTV) March 10, 2023
When you take on the Tories and the system! Awful people who we need gone. Off for a 🍷 https://t.co/o2TAI9mPFS
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) March 10, 2023
Boris Johnson, the former Prime Minister was allowed to lead this nation after calling Muslim Women “Letterboxes”, saying Africans had “Watermelon smiles” and gay men were “bum boys”
But Gary Lineker gets dropped from presenting a Football highlight show in just days?
— Guz Khan (@GuzKhanOfficial) March 10, 2023
As a strong supporter of public service broadcasting, I want to be able to defend the BBC. But the decision to take @GaryLineker off air is indefensible. It is undermining free speech in the face of political pressure - & it does always seem to be rightwing pressure it caves to
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) March 10, 2023
Disappointing that coverage of @BBCMOTD dictated by politicians. Not what @BBC should be about. BBC should be ashamed. Should be independent of No 10. Ian Wright replaced by Ian Duncan-Smith? Many good people working for BBC football who deserve better from their craven bosses.
— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) March 10, 2023