The suspension of the network’s partnership with the presenter caused serious problems for the BBC’s sports program on TV and radio
BBC director-general Tim Davey said on Saturday he would not resign, despite a backlash over the suspension of Britain’s public broadcaster. with its famous presenter Gary Linekerbecause of his Twitter post critical of the British government, and the problems it caused to the British Broadcasting Corporation’s sports broadcasts.
“Everyone wants the situation to be resolved peacefully,” Davey told the BBC.
The British network on Friday suspended Gary Lineker, the former footballer and host of the popular Match Of The Day show, after he accused the British government of using Nazi-era rhetoric to fight illegal immigration.
The suspension of the network’s partnership with the presenter caused serious problems for the BBC’s sports program on television and radio.
Football commentators including former England internationals Ian Wright and Alan Shearer have decided to withdraw from their programs in a show of “solidarity”.
Match Of The Day, something of an institution in Britain, where it has been broadcast since 1964, was broadcast yesterday for the first time without a presenter or commentator, as part of a shortened 20-minute program with highlights from six matches in the English Premier League.
The Football Focus and Final Score shows were pulled from the schedule, while Radio 5Live’s coverage was also disrupted.
Asked if he would resign, Davey said: “Absolutely not,” noting that he is looking forward to “getting this resolved.”
“To be clear, success would be the way I see it if Gary is back on the air and together we can offer the public international sports coverage,” he added, noting that “it’s a shame we couldn’t deliver that today.”
The comments by the former footballer, who regularly shares his progressive views with his 8.8 million followers, have sparked controversy amid tensions over immigration issues and criticism from the British right of the public network for a lack of impartiality.
The BBC had initially said it would “talk” to the presenter.
On Friday the network finally “decided that (Gary Lineker) will stand down from presenting Match Of The Day until we have a clear agreement with him on the use of social networking sites”.
An online petition in support of Lineker had more than 190,000 signatures by Saturday morning, while the hashtag #BoycottBBC is trending on Twitter.
Politically, the British network’s decision has been condemned by many figures, from the opposition Labor Party to Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon, whose position the BBC lacks in any defense. It puts, according to her, “at risk the freedom of expression in the face of political pressure”.
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