Premier League

‘Hopes of a resolution soon’

Gary Lineker has a picture taken with a fan

Talks between the BBC and Gary Lineker are “moving in the right direction” after the broadcaster’s sports coverage suffered disruption throughout the weekend, the corporation has reported.

There are “hopes of a resolution soon, but not all issues are ‘fully resolved’ at this stage”, BBC News said.

Football coverage on BBC TV and radio shows was hit across the weekend as pundits walked out in “solidarity” with Lineker after the former England captain was told to stand down from presenting Match of the Day when he compared language used to launch a new Government asylum seeker policy with 1930s Germany.

Match of the Day aired for only 20 minutes on Saturday without accompanying commentary or analysis from presenters, and Sunday’s edition of Match of the Day 2 ran for a reduced 15 minutes in similar style.

Commentator Guy Mowbray wrote on Twitter: “As yesterday, there will be no ‘normal’ MOTD(2) programme tonight. The scheduled commentary team are in full agreement with our BBC Sport colleagues. We hope that a resolution can be found ASAP.”

Coverage of the Women’s Super League match between Chelsea and Manchester United also aired without a pre-match presentation, and with world feed commentary used instead of regular BBC voices – a 30-minute Women’s Football Show then later showed highlights of the day’s WSL action with commentary, but otherwise had the same format as the Match of the Day programmes.

Radio 5 Live’s coverage was radically altered throughout the day on Saturday and there was a change to its Sunday schedules too, with its usual ‘Premier League Sunday’ show from midday to 2pm replaced by episodes of Sport’s Strangest Crimes.

The afternoon’s Premier League commentaries from 2pm went ahead and, prior to coverage of Fulham against Arsenal, commentator Alistair Bruce-Ball acknowledged the “difficult time” BBC Sport was undergoing.

“I want to reiterate what we said ahead of our football coverage yesterday,” he said.

“I know you’ll all appreciate this is a difficult time for BBC Sport and for all those who work in the department and we hope it all gets resolved as soon as possible.

“It’s been a very difficult decision to make personally, I can assure you it’s not been taken lightly, but I’m a BBC staff member, I’m a radio commentator for this station and just like yesterday we are here to provide our football service to you, our audience.”

Those comments were echoed by the…

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