The Gary Lineker saga continues to plague the BBC on Saturday morning, after it was announced that the flagship pre-match programme Football Focus will not air today. It’s understood that a mass withdrawal of pundits and staff have crippled the production.
Final Score, another popular fixture on the sporting schedule, is also likely to be axed.
Football Focus, Final Score pulled from BBC schedule
The decision comes in the wake of an almighty row engulfing the state broadcaster. Lineker was stood down from hosting duties on Match Of The Day – a show he has helmed since 1999 – after he criticised the government’s controversial plans for asylum seekers last week.
On Friday, he was told that he could not host this weekend’s programme. After which, all hell broke lose. Pundits Ian Wright, Micah Richards, Alan Shearer, and Jermaine Jenas all made themselves unavailable for selection, standing in solidarity with the former England striker.
Match Of The Day commentators have also stood down from their duties, leaving the BBC with a threadbare output team. The programme will now only air with match highlights, and omit the usual interviews and analysis that have been a staple for the past six decades.
Players ‘will not give interviews’ to BBC on Saturday
Furthermore, the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) has confirmed that its members will not give interviews to the BBC, while this whole fiasco continues. The show of support for Mr. Lineker has been wide-ranging – with the Football Focus team also nailing their colours to the mast.
Alex Scott, who hosts Football Focus, has spoken about her decision to down tools. She said it ‘would not feel right’ to go ahead and present the show, but hopes to be back on the airwaves by next Saturday.
“I made a decision last night that even though I love doing Football Focus and we have had an incredible week winning an SJA award that it just doesn’t feel right going ahead with the show today. Hopefully I will be back in the chair next week…” | Alex Scott