BBC break their silence on football programming chaos
BBC break their silence on football programming chaos to deliver vague 51-WORD statement after ‘disappointing’ sports fans… as Football Focus and Final Score are AXED and Match of the Day is slashed to 20 MINUTES in length in the wake of Gary Lineker crisis
- BBC’s statement offers little clarification over the future of sports programming
- Gary Lineker may begin to attract tempting offers from other broadcasters
- Follow live coverage from all the fallout as BBC lose avalanche of presenters
The BBC broke their silence to offer a brief 51-word statement on their ‘limited’ scheduling following their cancellation of the majority of their football coverage this weekend.
This is the first public statement that the broadcaster has made since news broke that a number of presenters, including Alex Scott, Kelly Somers, and Jason Mohammad, would be standing in solidarity with Gary Lineker following the BBC’s decision to temporarily pull the veteran presenter over a controversial tweet.
The Match of the Day presenter is believed to be overwhelmed by the vocal support from so many of his colleagues.
Both Football Focus, which is led by Scott, and Mohammad-helmed Final Score, were taken off the air after the broadcaster was unable to find replacements to take over their duties.
A spokesperson for the BBC said that the organisation was ‘sorry’ for the changes to regular programme, due to its impact on the viewers.
Enjoying a rare Saturday off under the circumstances, Gary Lineker travelled to watch his boyhood club Leicester
The BBC’s terse statement offers no mention of the chaos that has led to changed schedule
Leicester fans at the King Power stadium made their support of the veteran presenter known
The statement in full read: ‘The BBC will only be able to bring limited sport programming this weekend and our schedules will be updated to reflect that.
‘We are sorry for these changes which recognise will be disappointing for BBC sport fans.
‘We are working hard to resolve the situation and hope to do so soon.’
There was no direct mention of the reason why the BBC’s schedule has been left in tatters this weekend.
But those in support of Lineker, who was stood down by the BBC ahead of Saturday’s planned programming of MOTD on Friday have been outspoken about their decision to forgo their television commitments this weekend.
Former England international Scott tweeted her solidarity with Lineker before adding in a separate post that presenting Football Focus wouldn’t ‘feel right’.
She wrote: ‘I made a decision last night that even though I love doing football focus and we have had an incredible week winning an SJA award that it just doesn’t feel right going ahead with the show today. Hopefully I will be back in the chair next week…’
Somers, who was briefly touted as her replacement, also confirmed via Twitter that she would not be appearing on the broadcaster today.
Alex Scott was among the first of the non-MOTD presenters to step down from her duties
The former Arsenal player had last night ruled herself out from taking over hosting MOTD
The programme will go ahead without a host, pundits, and commentary this evening
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Final Score host Mohammad claimed he informed the BBC of his unwillingness to appear earlier this morning.
Match of the Day 2 too was thrown into chaos by a statement made by Jermaine Defoe, who was planned to appear on the programme as a pundit.
He tweeted: ‘It’s always such a privilege to work with BBC MOTD. But tomorrow I have taken the decision to stand down from my punditry duties. @GaryLineker.’
The flagship MOTD, which was already preparing to run without pundits due to decisions taken by Lineker’s co-hosts Alan Shearer and Ian Wright in his absence, will be only 20 minutes long after a number of commentators stood in support of the Leicester City legend and refused to participate.
BBC’s 5Live radio coverage has also been affected, with Mark Chapman boycotting his regular Saturday afternoon duties, despite suggestions that a Premier League boycott of the broadcaster would only extend to television interviews rather than radio shows.
With neither the BBC or Lineker yet able to resolve the issue, there are questions over the presenter’s long-term future at the broadcaster.
Despite being one of the most familiar faces in their storied sports coverage, rival organisations are beginning to circle, with BT Sport looking to make their move should tensions continue.
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