The BBC’s coverage of the top of the table clash between Chelsea and Manchester United in the WSL is set to be significantly reduced as the row over Gary Lineker’s suspension from Match of the Day remains unresolved.
Lineker was told to step back from his role as Match of the Day host in the wake of his tweet last week in response to the UK government’s new plans regarding illegal immigration.
That prompted the likes of Alan Shearer, Ian Wright, Alex Scott, Micah Richards and various other on-air talent to also step back from the corporation’s football coverage on Saturday. There was no BBC Final Score aired in the afternoon and Match of the Day was heavily stripped back – game footage was shown with no presentation, analysis or commentary and reduced to just 20 minutes.
With no resolution to the situation being found, Sunday’s WSL coverage of Chelsea vs Manchester United at Kingsmeadow, scheduled for live broadcast on BBC Two, was also at risk.
In the hours beforehand, BBC sport editor Dan Roan confirmed the plan is for the game to be shown without any pre-match presentation – it is not clear what the BBC will fill the gaps with, as broadcast remains scheduled for 15 minutes before kick-off. Match of the Day 2, which will show highlights of four Premier League games will follow a similar format to Saturday’s Match of the Day.
The Chelsea vs Manchester United game is the biggest the WSL has seen this season, with the reining champions hosting the current leaders. There is potential for it to have huge implications for the WSL title race going into the final stretch of the 2022/23 campaign.
United hold a one-point lead that they could extend to four should they be able to beat Chelsea for the first time ever in any competition. A draw would leave the Red Devils top on goal difference, but Chelsea would go two points in front with a win. Emma Hayes’ Blues also have a game in hand.
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