Gary Lineker is back in his presenting duties on the BBC, with football pundit Alan Shearer speaking of the “difficult situation” he and his colleagues have faced after a row over neutrality.
Lineker has been forced off the air in succession over a tweet critical of the government’s immigration policy, with his presenters pulling out of Match Of The Day last weekend in solidarity.
Shearer was speaking as he joined Micah Richards and Linker – who opened the show by saying it was “great to be here” – on Saturday night for the FA Cup coverage, a week after viewers had to make do with a very limited copy of the program due to the dispute.
He said: “I just want to make it clear and wanted to say how upset we are with all the fans who missed out last weekend.
“It was a really difficult situation for everyone involved, and through no fault of their own some really fine people on TV and radio were put in an impossible situation, and it just wasn’t fair.
“So it’s good to get back to some kind of normalcy and talk about football.”
And Lineker responded: “Sure, they echoed those sentiments.”
The tweets posted by Lineker, 62, compared the language used by the government to launch its new policy for asylum seekers to that used in Germany in the 1930s.
The feud worsened after Lineker’s fellow BBC sportscasters, including Shearer, walked out in solidarity.
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Richards was not scheduled to appear this weekend, but said on social media that if he had been, he would have done the same.
This means Match of the Day can only be broadcast for 20 minutes and without commentary or analysis attached, and without even its theme tune.
The Sunday version only lasted 15 minutes.
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After the row, the BBC’s director general, Tim Davie, apologized and said an independent review had been undertaken looking at the organisation’s social media guidelines, particularly for freelancers such as Lineker.
Before returning to the live show as part of the BBC’s coverage of the FA Cup quarter-final between Manchester City and Burnley, Lineker tweeted several times.
“Back to Saturday job” in the morning, he wrote, before snapping a selfie on the field with the caption, “Ahhhhhhh so nice to let him stick to football.”
He also posted a photo of himself with Richards and Shearer, calling them his “teammates.”