BBC Board says it's the 'right time' to review social media rules after Gary Lineker row



The BBC Board said it is "the right time" for the company to review its social media guidelines after reinstating Gary Lineker on Match of the Day.

The corporation was slammed after announcing on Friday that Lineker had been asked to stand down from presenting MOTD following the fallout over his tweets criticising the government’s proposed small boats policy.

Lineker likened the language used to announce Home Office’s plans to ‘Germany in the 30s’ - and refused to back down.

The BBC's decision sparked a wave of anger from the public - including many of Lineker’s BBC colleagues.

After a chaotic weekend broadcasting match action with no commentary or pundit insight, the BBC reinstated the star in time for him to present FA Cup coverage this coming weekend.

On Monday, the BBC board released a statement regarding the BBC's impartiality rules.

Gary Lineker
Gary Lineker was reinstated after a long weekend of uproar and petitions ( AFP via Getty Images)

“The board welcomes the fact that the executive has reached an agreement following the disruption of the weekend," they said.

“Impartiality is a cornerstone of the BBC. We believe this is the right time to look at the clarity of the BBC’s social media guidance and how it is applied. We will support the executive in its continuing work to ensure the organisation delivers world-class, impartial content for all audiences.”

More than 210,000 Mirror readers signed our petition to reinstate the broadcaster while commentators boycotted MOTD and the broadcaster's sports programming on Saturday in solidarity of Gary.

BBC director general Tim Davie apologised to sports fans following the row and said he wanted to 'get matters resolved'.

“Everyone recognises this has been a difficult period for staff, contributors, presenters and, most importantly, our audiences. I apologise for this," Davie said after the corporation was slammed for the handling of the situation.

Tim Davie
BBC director Tim Davie apologised to the public

“The potential confusion caused by the grey areas of the BBC’s social media guidance that was introduced in 2020 is recognised.

“I want to get matters resolved and our sports content back on the air. Impartiality is important to the BBC. It is also important to the public.“

The director general announced a review of the BBC's social media policy, which will be led by an independent expert.

It will have a “particular focus on how it applies to freelancers outside news and current affairs”.

Lineker welcomed the new review and said he was excited to get back to presenting on television.

“I am glad that we have found a way forward,” he explained in the joint statement with the director. “I support this review and look forward to getting back on air.”

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