Gary Lineker resumes hosting BBC’s FA Cup coverage

London –

BBC presenter Gary Lineker made a low-key return to live TV on Saturday to lead the broadcaster’s coverage of FA Cup football, but chose not to directly address his recent suspension for tweets critical of the British government’s immigration policy.

The BBC reinstated Lineker on Monday after the public broadcaster backed down and withdrew its commitment to the former footballer following backlash and a major disruption to its regular sports coverage last weekend. Superstar suspension.

Lineker, 62, a former England star and one of the BBC’s best-known presenters, was joined by former players Alan Shearer and Manchester City ahead of their FA Cup quarter-final against Burnley. Micah Richards returned to the studio together. Etihad Stadium.

“Ellen, great to be here,” Lineker said, sounding more husky than usual, but made no reference to the recent turmoil in his opening remarks.

Instead, Shearer addressed the issue after he and many other football pundits and pundits refused to work for the BBC last weekend in solidarity with Lineker. As a result, some football programming has been canceled and the popular “Match of the Day” – showing Premier League highlights – has been reduced from its normal 80 minutes to just 20 minutes of game footage, without any commentary or analysis.

“I just wanted to clarify and I wanted to say how sad we were (for) all the spectators who missed the game last weekend,” Shearer said. “It’s a very difficult situation for everyone involved. …and through no fault of their own, some really great people on TV and radio have been put in impossible situations. It’s not fair. So it’s kind of normal to go back to some people and start talking about football again.”

Lineker replied, “Of course. I share those sentiments,” before turning his attention to the upcoming game.

Lineker, known for his wit and puns, earlier tweeted a photo of the inside of the stadium and commented: “Ah what a joy to be allowed to keep playing football.”

Lineker was suspended after criticizing the government’s new immigration scheme – designed to stop people crossing the English Channel in small boats to reach the country – describing it on Twitter as “incredibly brutal” and saying the government’s language “has nothing to do with the language used. What’s different” Germany in the 1930s. “

The Conservative government called Lineker’s comparison offensive and unacceptable, and some lawmakers said the BBC should sack him. The broadcaster instead said Lineker would “take a step back” until he agreed to keep his tweets within the BBC’s impartiality rules. But Lineker refused to retract his comments, with critics accusing the BBC of suppressing free speech.

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