Voices: We were so distracted by Gary Lineker, we missed the truly outrageous part of Match of the Day

There is something too many people failed to notice about the 20 minute, pundit and commentator free “special” the BBC put out under the banner of Match of the Day on Saturday.

Shockingly, blind and visually impaired football fans were completely shut out. Gary Lineker’s temporary suspension from the programme, following controversy over his tweet criticising the government’s language over asylum seekers, led to a hastily cobbled together broadcast after his fellow presenters and commentary teams walked out in solidarity.

Some supported the move: “Had all the goals in, no ‘expert’ analysis and finished quicker than usual so I could make the pub for last orders. What’s not to like,” wrote Tory MP Scott Benton via Twitter.

But there’s something glaring that he – and others like him – were missing; namely that it wasn’t possible for visually impaired people who rely on commentary to be able to appreciate those goals like he did.

It did, however, occur to Jurgen, who tweets using the handle @NotJstABlindGuy. “I am so angry,” he wrote. “It was bad enough what @BBCSport @BBCAccessAll did to @GaryLineker but to put on @BBCMOTD without any commentary is not just inaccessible, it is a breach of the equalities act! It shows how little they care for disabled viewers.”

He also clapped back at Nadine Dorries, telling her that supporting the substitute show also amounted to supporting “not only making the program completely inaccessible to blind people like me, but also the BBC putting out a program in breach of its own broadcasting rules. Is that what we should expect from a former minister for the department of culture, media and sport?”

The corporation’s record on disability is patchy. It does have a few first rate disabled journalists on staff this days – just not enough of them. You’ll see the odd wheelchair. Maybe a white cane. Just not often enough.

It is some time now since the corporation’s veteran political journalist Gary O’Donoghue had to threaten Auntie with a tribunal after he was prevented from covering his own story. He won a five-figure settlement and the affair resulted in the Beeb sending bosses on disability awareness courses.

As the Royal National Institute for the Blind subsequently put it: “The BBC needs to do better. We agree with Jurgen that their decision not to include commentary on Match of the Day is unacceptable. The BBC should be upholding basic accessibility standards so that everyone can enjoy their output.”

Of course, there will be those who would say: but the corporation found itself in a jam and didn’t have any choice. Its commentators had walked. It had to do this at speed!

Sorry, but that doesn’t wash. Tim Davie earns big money as director general. It is his job to find solutions to problems.

The Lineker saga was a self-created problem, the responsibility for which lies at Davie’s door. It was his job to deal with the consequences.

We’ve already heard the apologies to viewers for the substandard product they were left with as a result of the affair. To my mind, Davie should now also apologise to blind and visually impaired licence fee payers; who weren’t able to enjoy even a watered down version of the BBC’s long running football programme. Given the fact that their needs were ignored, we should call it what it was: a glaring example of everyday ableism.

Here’s what Davie should say: “We recognise that some of our viewers have disabilities. We need to do better by them. This won’t happen again on my watch.”

Tim, the ball’s at your feet mate. Now, what are you going to do with it?