Gary Lineker privately agreed that his tweet at the heart of the crisis engulfing the BBC was a “step too far”, another broadcaster has claimed.
The BBC’s sports schedule was plunged into a second day of disarray on Sunday, with “sharply reduced” coverage expected on several shows as presenters, pundits and commentators continued their mutiny in solidarity with Lineker.
The presenter was urged by BBC bosses on Friday to back down from presenting game of the day after comparing the government’s asylum language to Germany in the 1930s on Twitter.
But as a freelancer not bound by the same rules as full-time journalists, the BBC fears it won’t be able to fire Lineker or force him to comply with social media rules due to ambiguities in his contract.
However, LBC presenter and former tennis star Andrew Castle has now claimed Lineker privately admitted Thursday that his comments on Twitter crossed a line.
“I was with Gary Lineker for half a day and I worked with him on Thursday. His phone was absolutely crazy,” Castle told LBC listeners on Saturday morning.
“I told him I was thinking of drawing the parallels between the rise of Nazism in government in the 1930s and early 1930s and the immigration policies of an incumbent Conservative Party, and he agreed.”
Castle added: “If he should apologize, then fine, I suppose he could go back on the air but it’s gone a little too far for that.
“And let me just say this – how badly does Gary Lineker need the BBC right now? The guy is absolutely charged, he’s making himself incredibly popular with a lot of people.”
The Independent has reached out to Lineker’s representative for comment.
On Tuesday, Lineker commented on a Twitter video of Home Secretary Suella Braverman revealing government plans to block migrant boats from crossing the Channel.
Lineker said: “There isn’t a big influx. We take in far fewer refugees than other large European countries. This is simply an immeasurably cruel policy aimed at the weakest, in language not unlike that of Germany in the 1930s.”
As a result of the dispute, Saturday’s episode of Match of the Day — which Lineker has presented for almost a quarter of a century — lasted “just 20 minutes,” with no host, pundits, commentary, or interviews Focus football, bottom line And 5 live sports also pulled out of the air on Saturday.
The crisis has also reignited calls for BBC chairman Richard Sharp to resign over issues of his impartiality, with former BBC senior executive Roger Bolton claiming the latest figure he was overwhelmed by the scandal surrounding his role in facilitating a loan been compromised at the rate of £800,000 for the time. Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“The fact that he cannot speak out on this issue and defend the BBC and define impartiality as chairman of the BBC means he cannot do his job,” Mr Bolton told GB News.
Former Labor Sport Secretary Chris Smith warned on Saturday that “the BBC is making a huge mistake”, saying The Independent: “They bow to the orders of Tory MPs, government ministers and the right-wing press. They really should come to their senses and find an appropriate back out.”
The BBC apologized for its limited sports programming on Saturday, insisting it was “working hard to resolve the situation and hope to do so soon”.
In an earlier statement, the BBC said it had been “in extensive discussions with Gary and his team over the past few days”, adding: “We have said we view his recent social media activity as a breach of our policies. “
They continued: “The BBC has decided that he will step down from presenting Match Of The Day until we have an agreed and clear position on his use of social media. When it comes to leading our football and sports coverage, Gary is second to none.
“We never said that Gary should be in a free-of-opinion zone or that he cannot have an opinion on issues that are important to him, but we did say that he should stay away from taking sides on partisan politics or controversies. “