Gary Lineker pulls out of FA Cup coverage after losing his voice
Gary Lineker has pulled out of presenting the BBC’s FA Cup coverage after losing his voice.
The presenter returned to screens yesterday after he was taken off-air by the BBC last weekend over his comments comparing the government’s language around its new asylum seeker policy with 1930s Germany.
Alex Scott will be hosting the coverage of today’s FA Cup quarter-final between Brighton and Grimsby Town on Match Of The Day Live on BBC One in his place.
BBC Sport said on Twitter: “Due to illness, we’ve got a line-up change… As viewers will have noticed yesterday, Gary Lineker was struggling with his voice and unfortunately it has deteriorated overnight.”
After the announcement, Lineker tweeted: “I’ve been silenced… literally, by a nasty cold.”
On his return to broadcasting yesterday, he told fellow pundits Alan Shearer and Micah Richards that it was “great to be here”.
He also posted a photo of himself at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, telling his Twitter followers: “Ah the joys of being allowed to stick to football.”
Lineker’s agent said this week that his client has a “passionate interest in refugees and immigration” and he thought he had “special agreement” with BBC director-general Tim Davie to “tweet about these issues”.
Speaking to The New Statesman, Jon Holmes also highlighted Lineker was not a political pundit and “assiduously avoids” taking part in on-air political programmes.
Last week, Mr Davie said the corporation has commissioned an independent review of its social media guidelines, particularly for freelancers.
He also apologised for what he acknowledged had been “a difficult period” after BBC Sport staff and commentators walked out in support of Lineker, with highlight shows significantly shorter than usual and aired without presentation or commentary last weekend.
He also described the BBC’s commitment to freedom of expression and impartiality as a “difficult balancing act”.
Mr Davie added: “The potential confusion caused by the grey areas of the BBC’s social media guidance that was introduced in 2020 is recognised. I want to get matters resolved and our sport content back on air.”