Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer have returned to work at the BBC after the Match of the Day boycott last week. The boycott was in response to the BBC’s decision to take exception to Lineker’s tweet criticising the UK government, which resulted in them stating he would be taking a ‘step back’ from his presenting role of the weekly Premier League highlights show. Shearer, along with Ian Wright and a host of other presenters and pundits, announced they wouldn’t be in the MoTD studio as a sign of solidarity. Match of the Day was ultimately cut short to be a 20-minute highlights show with no analysis, commentators or interviews from players and managers. BBC chiefs eventually resolved their issue with Lineker, though he still won’t be presenting the Premier League round-up show on Saturday night. That is because he and Shearer were at the Etihad Stadium for BBC’s Match of the Day Live coverage of Manchester City’s FA Cup quarter-final clash against Burnley.
Speaking ahead of the match, the pair were quick to comment on their recent issue with the BBC. Lineker introduced Citizens icon Micah Richards as part of their team for the game, before telling Shearer: “Alan, it’s great to be here.” To which Shearer said: “I just need to clear up and wanted to say how upset we were that all the audiences that missed out on last weekend. It was a really difficult situation for everyone concerned, and through no fault of their own, some really great people in TV and in radio, were put in an impossible situation. And that wasn’t fair, so it’s good to get back to some sort of normality and be talking about football again.”
Lineker then added: “Absolutely. And I echo those statements.” The former England striker also explained why he did not present Match of the Day that evening, as was always planned. He said: “For those who missed it and are asking, I presented @BBCMOTD’s live FA Cup game earlier this evening. MOTD tonight was always going to be presented by the brilliant mark Chapman. It will have good replays so you can see what happened and understand penalty calls.”