Ian Wright says the BBC made a 'hot mess' by temporarily axing & reinstating Gary Lineker as MOTD host | The Sun
IAN Wright says the BBC has made a "hot mess" by temporarily axing then reinstating Gary Lineker as Match Of The Day host.
The Arsenal legend was speaking after it was revealed Lineker will front the FA Cup coverage on Saturday.
The under-fire host struck a deal after tense talks following a weekend of TV mayhem caused by Lineker's inflammatory tweets likening the Government's language on small boats to 1930s Germany.
Wright was one of the many pundits and presenters who stood by Lineker's side, stepping away from their own media duties at the weekend.
He even threatened to quit MOTD for good over the treatment of the 62-year-old.
Speaking on his podcast Wrighty's House, the footy star said he thought the Beeb handled the situation poorly – leading people to forget "what really matters".
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Wright said: "Obviously it's been a bit intense.
"But I said on the podcast before it all kicked off, it's a perfect distraction. It's a perfect distraction from what really matters, and for me they made a hot mess I'm telling you."
He explained how "this is all from high up".
The 59-year-old continued: "I can't blame my man Phil Bernie, the BBC Sport team… all this is over a tweet.
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"Gary Lineker riled them man up over a tweet. At some stage surely heads have got to roll.
"The mismanagement levels of this is… I can't even tell you. But it's done.
"Everybody knows how I feel about it, but I'm just pleased that it's kinda come to something."
It was revealed on Monday that Lineker would return to air this weekend – but his failure to apologise saw him attract criticism.
Tory MP Tom Hunt said: “There has been no apology from Lineker for the grossly offensive remarks he made that would have offended millions of people who are forced to make a contribution to his salary.
"We can’t allow 'freelancers' who are paid millions by the taxpayer and are widely perceived to be BBC employees to act with impunity when it comes to impartiality rules.
“Even before this there was growing momentum and support from the public for abolishing the licence fee. This will only boost that.”
The row was triggered when the veteran broadcaster responded to a video on Twitter of Home Secretary Suella Braverman as she presented the Government's small boats plan.
The legislation will see migrants swiftly detained and removed to either their country of origin or a safe third state within 28 days.
Sharing the clip, Lineker said: "Good heavens, this is beyond awful."
Responding to another user who described him as "out of order", he added: "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?"
The BBC said the pundit's comments on Twitter were a "breach of our guidelines".
Ms Braverman later said his comments were "offensive".
She added: "To kind of throw out those kind of flippant analogies diminishes the unspeakable tragedy that millions of people went through…
"And I don’t think anything that is happening in the UK today can come close to what happened in the Holocaust."
Match Of The Day ran for just 20 minutes on Saturday – without commentary or even the iconic theme tune – as the crisis-hit BBC struggled to get the flagship highlights show on-air.
Football Focus, Final Score, the Fighting Talk podcast and 5Live's 606 football phone in were all canned as the staff uprising sent schedules into meltdown.
And Match Of The Day 2 ran for just 14 minutes, again with no commentary or presenters.
Tim Davie told the BBC on Saturday he would "absolutely not" quit amid a fallout that has bought the corporation to its knees.
He described the unfolding disaster as a "difficult day" and apologised for the disruption to BBC sports programming.
Asked if he was sorry about the way he handled the furore, Mr Davie told the BBC on Saturday: "We made decisions and I made decisions based on a real passion about what the BBC is and it's difficult."
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He insisted the row is about impartiality.
Gary's tweets were said to break the BBC's strict impartiality rules which state that staff must "avoid taking sides on political controversies" and "take care when addressing public policy matters".
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