TalkSPORT is now the only radio station offering live football coverage on Saturdays after the BBC pulled 5 Live Sport. This comes after a boycott of Match of the Day by presenters, pundits, commentators, players, and managers in solidarity with Gary Lineker, who was forced to step back from the show due to comments he made about the UK government’s new asylum policy. The boycott has now extended to the BBC’s radio coverage, with Football Focus and Final Score being axed after presenters Alex Scott and Jason Mohammad refused to work. The BBC has also cancelled its football coverage on radio for today after 5 Live Sport presenter Mark Chapman and others decided not to host their shows. There will be no live commentaries of Premier League matches on 5 Live today.
TalkSPORT, on the other hand, will offer expert commentary and analysis throughout the day, starting with Bournemouth vs Liverpool at 12.30pm. TalkSPORT 2 will have live coverage of Tottenham vs Nottingham Forest at 3pm, while Adrian Durham takes listeners around the grounds and offers the classified scores across England on the main station. The station will also offer exclusive access to players and managers after the games, with no censorship of opinion.
The impartiality row began when Lineker compared recent language of the Conservative Party to ‘that used by Germany in the 30s’. After criticism from Home Secretary Suella Braverman, the BBC announced Lineker would ‘step back’ from Match of the Day until an agreement was reached over his social media use. In response, pundits Ian Wright and Alan Shearer, who were scheduled to appear on Saturday, announced they would not participate in the show. Many other BBC regulars, including Jermaine Jenas, followed suit, before the broadcaster’s entire commentary team pulled out.
On Saturday, it was confirmed Premier League players and managers will not be asked to speak with Match of the Day after games, meaning the programme will go ahead without a presenter, pundits, commentators or interviews.