(LONDON) The BBC announced on Friday the withdrawal of its star presenter Gary Lineker, after a tweet by the former England footballer comparing the government’s language on refugees to that of 1930s Germany.
After the announcement on Tuesday by the Conservative government of a new bill aimed at preventing migrants arriving by the English Channel from seeking asylum in the United Kingdom, Gary Lineker, very active on Twitter, had denounced on this social network ” a cruel policy aimed at the most vulnerable, in a language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 1930s”.
The words of the 62-year-old former England striker, followed by nearly 9 million Internet users, sparked heated controversy in a tense context around immigration issues, but also criticism recurring attacks of impartiality aimed at public broadcasting on the part of the British right.
The BBC then said that it was going to “talk” with the presenter of Match Of The Daya hugely popular football show that has aired every Saturday since 1964.
On Friday, the audiovisual group said it considered “the recent activities (of Mr. Lineker) on social networks as a violation of the instructions”.
“The BBC has decided that he (Gary Lineker) is going to withdraw from presenting Match Of The Day until we have a clear agreement with him on his use of social networks”, it is specified.
In response, former English striker, notably for Arsenal, Ian Wright said he would not participate in the show on Saturday, where he usually acts as an expert.
“Everyone knows what it means Match Of The Day for me, but I told the BBC I won’t be there tomorrow,” he said on Friday. “Solidarity”.
After the outcry caused by his tweet, Gary Lineker had repeated that he assumed his words. On Thursday, he tweeted that he was “very excited” to present his show on Saturday.
Gary Lineker, 48 goals in the English jersey until his retirement in 1994, has presented the show since 1999 Match Of The Day on the BBC.
Nicknamed “Mr Nice” for his impeccable behavior throughout his career, he has since become a star presenter and expresses his political positions without restraint, in particular against Brexit and pro-migrants.
The new bill, which according to the government aims to put an end to the illegal arrival of migrants through the Channel, has been criticized by the UN and multiple human rights associations.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has accused London of wanting to “put an end to the right of asylum”.