The BBC has announced that Saturday’s Match of the Day programme will not feature a presenter or pundits, following the decision to remove Gary Lineker from his role. The move came after Lineker criticised the UK government’s new asylum policy, comparing its language to that of 1930s Germany. In response, regular MOTD pundits Ian Wright and Alan Shearer announced they would not appear on the show as a sign of solidarity. BBC presenter Alex Scott also ruled herself out of replacing Lineker, while pundits Jermaine Jenas and Micah Richards said they would not step in. The programme will now focus solely on match action without studio presentation or punditry.
The decision has been criticised by talkSPORT’s Darren Bent, who accused the BBC of “cancel culture”. However, talkSPORT host and former Crystal Palace owner Simon Jordan said Lineker should not have to apologise for his views. Talks are ongoing between the PFA, BBC and Premier League about players and managers not being put up for interviews on Match of The Day after their matches. It is currently unclear whether anyone will be in the studio for MOTD 2 on Sunday.
Six Premier League games are being played on Saturday, with Manchester City away at Crystal Palace, Bournemouth hosting Liverpool, Chelsea playing Leicester at the King Power Stadium, Tottenham welcoming Nottingham Forest to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Leeds and Brighton battling at Elland Road, and relegation-threatened Everton facing Brentford at Goodison Park.