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BBC lifts Gary Lineker’s suspension

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BBC lifts Gary Lineker’s suspension
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BBC lifts Lineker’s suspension

He returns as BBC presenter: Gary Lineker

He returns as BBC presenter: Gary Lineker

What: AP/Mike Egerton

The BBC makes peace with its star presenter Gary Lineker. The football legend, who was suspended a few days ago, returns to the microphone after the fuss surrounding his criticism of British asylum policy. The broadcaster announces a new investigation.

Dhe dispute between the BBC and prominent football presenter Gary Lineker has ended. As the public broadcaster announced on Monday, the ex-English international will return to the screen after a day’s break. “Gary is a valued part of the BBC and I know how much the BBC means to Gary and I look forward to him presenting our coverage over the coming weekend,” said BBC Director General Tim Davie. He announced an independent investigation into social media regulations and apologized to staff, moderators and the audience for the “difficult phase”. Davie acknowledged that ‘grey areas’ created some confusion. At the same time, he emphasized that Lineker would “adhere to the editorial guidelines” during the examination.

Lineker was satisfied. He is happy to return to the air, said the 62-year-old. The last few days have been “surreal”. Lineker also ended his four-day Twitter break on Monday morning. “I would like to thank everyone for the incredible support, especially my colleagues at BBC Sport for the remarkable solidarity,” he wrote. In another tweet, he described the BBC as “the best and most professional television network in the world“.

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Lineker tweeted last Tuesday, criticizing the UK government’s new asylum law, that the rhetoric of the Conservative UK government was “not unlike that of Germany in the 1930s”.

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As a result, there was severe criticism from the government, which wants to first detain migrants arriving without official permission in shelters and then expel them to Rwanda or other countries. Among other things, Lineker’s expulsion had been demanded.

Lineker refers again to the situation of the refugees

The BBC saw Lineker’s statement as a violation of its strict rules of neutrality and suspended the popular presenter. As a result, several moderators and commentators refused to work, and Lineker’s flagship show “Match of the Day” only showed game scenes without comment. Other football-related TV programs were canceled due to a lack of presenters. Critics accused the BBC of bowing to government pressure.

With signs like this at Leicester against Chelsea, football fans campaigned for Lineker at the weekend

With signs like this at Leicester against Chelsea, football fans campaigned for Lineker at the weekend

What: Action Images via Reuters

When announcing his return, Lineker once again referred to the impetus for all discussions – the situation of the refugees. “As difficult as the last few days have been, it’s nothing compared to being persecuted in your home country and having to flee because of it or because of the war and seek refuge in a distant country,” wrote the striker legend, who has long been a private advocate employing refugees. Lineker added: “We are still a country with predominantly tolerant, open-minded and generous people. Thank you.” Lineker is due to make his debut next Saturday in the FA Cup quarter-finals between English champions Manchester City and second division leaders Burnely.

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The case for the BBC has not yet been finally resolved. Because in the course of the Lineker debate, the personal details of the chairman of the supervisory board, Richard Sharp, came more into focus again. Prime Minister Sunak distanced himself from the 67-year-old, who was once his boss at investment bank Goldman Sachs and had been hired as an advisor when he was Treasury Secretary. Sunak said on a flight to the United States that it was right that Sharp’s appointment would again be independently reviewed by then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Shortly before his appointment by Johnson, Sharp had helped the prime minister land an £800,000 personal loan. Both reject nepotism.

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The opposition again called for Sharp’s expulsion on Monday. Labor leader Keir Starmer said his position was becoming increasingly untenable. Many people would wonder why Sharp is still in office but Lineker is temporarily not. Starmer’s party colleague Lucy Powell said: “The Tory government has long wanted to undermine the BBC.” The ongoing uncertainty makes the broadcaster “vulnerable to political campaigns orchestrated by ministers, MPs and the right-wing press”.

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