If the BBC thought that the situation concerning Gary Lineker was going away anytime soon, their clearly misjudged just how bad things were going to get.
There seems to have been one issue after another that has seen a snowball effect to where we are now, and that, according to The Athletic (subscription required), is a viewing of this Saturday’s Match of the Day without any commentary whatsoever.
After it was decided that Lineker should be stood down from his presenting duties, his colleague Ian Wright was the first to break cover, quickly followed by another MOTD pundit, Alan Shearer.
Everybody knows what Match of the Day means to me, but I’ve told the BBC I won’t be doing it tomorrow. Solidarity.
— Ian Wright (@IanWright0) March 10, 2023
I have informed the BBC that I won’t be appearing on MOTD tomorrow night.
— Alan Shearer (@alanshearer) March 10, 2023
They were soon followed by those involved with Football Focus and Final Score:
I made a decision last night that even though I love doing football focus and we have had an incredible week winning an SJA award that it just doesn’t feel right going ahead with the show today. Hopefully I will be back in the chair next week…
— Alex Scott MBE (@AlexScott) March 11, 2023
Then the news that Radio Five Live wouldn’t be broadcasting from around the grounds as normal:
Mark Chapman will not present BBC Radio Five Live Sport this afternoon, @skynews understands
— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) March 11, 2023
A real nail in the coffin for the corporation came when the commentators who would normally work for the show decided that they would also be showing solidarity with Lineker:
NEW | all 6 commentators due to work on MOTD tmrw pull out. Joint statement ?? https://t.co/0rSuUcoxWn pic.twitter.com/mIyIEmUftH
— Dan Roan (@danroan) March 10, 2023
And Premier League players and managers would also refuse to undertake their media duties in the wake of the scandal engulfing the ‘beeb’:
PFA statement ?? pic.twitter.com/7k89oSFxF6
— Dan Roan (@danroan) March 11, 2023
It was felt that the corporation could still make use of the world feed for commentary, so even if there were no host or punditry, in itself a huge own goal, the BBC could at least get by with using the world feed’s commentary.
However, as David Ornstein noted in The Athletic, the BBC don’t have the rights to be able to use the global commentary.
It means, therefore, that it’ll be a shorter show, with no introduction, no sound other than crowd noise and no post-match analysis.
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