BBC Director General Tim Davie Apologizes Over Gary Lineker Row, Says He Won’t Resign 


BBC Director General Tim Davie has apologized to audiences for the disruption caused to the organization’s sports programming but said he won’t resign following the unprecedented talent walkout over the suspension of Gary Lineker.

“I’m sorry audiences have been affected, and they haven’t got the programming,” Davie said in an interview with BBC News in Washington DC. “As a keen sports fan, I know to miss programming is a real blow, and I’m sorry about that. We are working very hard to resolve this situation and make sure we get output on air.”

When quizzed if he had considered resigning following the dispute, Davie confirmed that he would not be leaving the organization but said he is currently in a “listening mode” with the aim of resolving issues on all sides.

“I want to make sure that going forward, we have a workable solution,” he said.

He added: “Everyone wants to calmly resolve the situation. Gary Lineker’s the best in the business – that’s not for debate.”

On Saturday evening, the BBC’s popular Premier League highlights show Match of the Day will air without a studio presenter or its regular roster of pundits after lead presenter Gary Lineker was asked to step back from coverage following a breach of the broadcaster’s impartiality rules on Twitter. The BBC announced the decision to pull Lineker back from the popular highlights show on Friday afternoon after “extensive discussions” with Lineker, in which the sports presenter was told that his tweet comparing the language around UK government policy to Nazi Germany was unacceptable.

In response, a series of pundits and commentators stood down in solidarity with Lineker, and other presenters said they wouldn’t be appearing. In the now-controversial tweet, Lineker railed at what he described as a “beyond awful” British government policy to stop small boats carrying asylum seekers from arriving on British shores.

He added in a later tweet: “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.”

Later during the interview with BBC News, Davie refused to be drawn on specific details about current discussions at the organization or if he had spoken to Lineker in the last 24 hours.

Davie was also asked if he would suspend other high-profile presenters like Apprentice host Alan Sugar or documentarian Chris Packham, who have shared public opinions on politics in the past.

In response, he said the current BBC guidelines “draw a distinction between those people who are seen as pan-BBC figures that are different to those appearing on programs.”

“We can debate that,” he added.

More to follow.


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