Gary Lineker, former England soccer star, removed from BBC show after critical tweets of UK migrant policy
Gary Lineker, a former soccer star who was an English Premier League broadcaster on BBC, was temporarily removed from his role on the station for criticizing the U.K. government’s new asylum policy.
Lineker, who made 80 appearances and scored 48 goals for the England national team, compared the language in the migrant policy to that used in Nazi Germany.
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“There is no huge influx,” he tweeted Tuesday. “We take far fewer refugees than other major European countries. This is just an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s, and I’m out of order?”
Lineker was a host on “Match of the Day,” and the broadcast aired Saturday without Lineker. The network said it held discussions with Lineker over his involvement on the program. According to the Associated Press, the BBC considered Lineker posting such views on social media as a breach of its guidelines.
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“The BBC has decided that he will step back from presenting ‘Match of the Day’ until we’ve got an agreed and clear position on his use of social media,” the broadcasting company said. “We have never said that Gary should be an opinion-free zone or that he can’t have a view on issues that matter to him, but we have said that he should keep well away from taking sides on party political issues or political controversies.”
The U.K. government called Lineker’s Nazi comparison inappropriate and unacceptable, and some lawmakers have called on him to be fired.
The 62-year-old has been the chief presenter on the show since 1999. “Match of the Day” on Saturday aired with no commentary and only featured shortened footage. The show aired for 20 minutes.
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Lineker told reporters Sunday that he was unable to immediately address the situation, according to The Guardian.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.