BBC’s Match of the Day coverage on Saturday night has caused controversy among football fans. The Premier League round-up show was broadcast without a presenter or studio pundits, following the decision to remove Gary Lineker from his role. The 62-year-old was axed after he criticised the UK government’s new asylum policy. In a sign of solidarity, a host of BBC pundits and colleagues of Lineker refused to appear on the show, with in-house commentators also joining in on the boycott. This led to BBC chiefs deciding to run a short highlights show of the six games that took place on Saturday. TalkSPORT offered to step in and save the day by providing Alan Brazil to assume the presenting role. However, the famous Match of the Day theme tune was scrapped, leaving viewers with no indication that the programme had started.
The decision to remove Lineker from his role has sparked outrage among fans, with many taking to social media to express their disappointment. Former BBC presenter Dan Walker tweeted: “Anyone else miss the music?” One enraged football fan posted: “What a load of crap this is!” Another said: “Well this is the weirdest match of the day there will ever be.” A third added: “They haven’t even done the theme tune! Everything has gone to s*** here.” Some viewers enjoyed the mini rundown of the action, but TalkTV host Piers Morgan declared it as ‘s***’.
Comedian Omid Djalili tweeted: “Watching MOTD with no presenter or pundits. Appalling. Even YouTube clips have commentary. Sending my new publicity shot to the BBC immediately as emergency replacement for Gary Lineker next week.” Summing up the viewer’s experience, one fan said: “Congratulations BBC. The worst production of a program ever in the history of British television. Incredible achievement.”
The decision to remove Lineker from his role has been criticised by many, with some calling for a boycott of the show. However, others have defended the BBC’s decision, arguing that Lineker’s comments were inappropriate and that he should be held accountable for his actions. The controversy has highlighted the importance of free speech and the role of broadcasters in shaping public opinion. It remains to be seen how the situation will be resolved, but it is clear that it has caused significant damage to the reputation of both Lineker and the BBC.