BBC admits sports programming will be ‘limited’ as row over Gary Lineker rumbles on
he BBC has admitted it will “only be able to bring limited sport programming” this weekend as the row over suspended Gary Lineker from Match of the Day rumbles on.
That could include the landmark highlights show being just over 20 minutes long tonight, according to reports.
The Chief Sports Correspondent of The Times Matt Lawton tweeted the show would be “limited to a fraction over 20 minutes tonight”.
Radio and TV timetables have been disrupted as a host of pundits pulled out of shows after Lineker was told to step back from hosting the show in a row over impartiality.
A BBC Spokesperson said: “The BBC will only be able to bring limited sport programming this weekend and our schedules will be updated to reflect that.
“We are sorry for these changes which we recognise will be disappointing for BBC sport fans.
“We are working hard to resolve the situation and hope to do so soon.”
Sunday’s Match Of The Day 2 slot has also been thrown into question after football pundit Jermaine Defoe announced he would not appear.
The Saturday evening slot will be without a presenter, pundits and several regular commentators, but the broadcaster has not said if Sunday’s version will be affected.
Defoe tweeted: “It’s always such a privilege to work with BBC MOTD. But tomorrow I have taken the decision to stand down from my punditry duties. @GaryLineker.”
The BBC has apologised to staff over dropping the shows, according to a leaked letter shared on Twitter by The Times’ chief football writer Henry Winter.
The letter, signed by Barbara Slater, the corporation’s director of sport, said: “We are sorry about the impact that the news relating to Gary Lineker and Match Of The Day is having across the department this weekend.
“We understand how unsettling this is for all of you – the staff in BBC Sport and our freelance community – and we understand the strength of feeling which has been generated by this issue.
“We have just released a statement to confirm that we will only be able to bring limited sports programming this weekend and our schedules will be updated to reflect that. We know that the changes we are making to programming will be disappointing for BBC Sport fans and for the Sport team.
“Individual heads of department and lead editors will be updating teams as and when they can, so if you have any specific questions about your role, please contact your line manager.We are working hard to resolve the situation and we will update you as soon as possible.”
It comes as the BBC’s sporting timetable on Saturday was greatly disrupted as both Football Focus and Final Score were pulled at the last moment.
Bargain Hunt aired in place of Football Focus on BBC One at noon on Saturday, while The Repair Shop is due to run instead of Final Score at 4.30pm.
BBC Radio 5 Live has also been affected, with host Mark Chapman not at the helm for 5 Live Sport and Fighting Talk.
His stance throws further doubt into whether Match Of The Day 2 will air as normal on Sunday as he is due to host.
BBC presenter Colin Murray said in a tweet, of 5 Live’s Fighting Talk not airing: “No @FightingTalk316 today, for obvious reasons.
“In the interest of transparency, this was a decision taken by the entire FT team and myself.”
Pre-recorded content replaced the live broadcasts with Kammy & Ben’s Proper Football Podcast aired during Fighting Talk’s slot followed by The Footballer’s Football Podcast which played on Radio 5 Live when 5 Live Sport would have aired.