The live coverage of Chelsea’s top-of-the-table clash with Manchester United is in doubt after several presenters and pundits pulled out of BBC sports programmes in solidarity with Gary Lineker.
The Match of the Day host has been forced to ‘step back’ from presenting the Saturday night show after breaching the BBC’s ‘social media guidelines’ due to a tweet which compared the language used to promote a new Government asylum policy with 1930s Germany.
Ian Wright and Alan Shearer pulled out of their punditry duties while the programme’s in solidarity with their colleague while Alex Scott refused to host Football Focus on Saturday morning.
BBC Final score while 5 Live’s Fighting Talk was taken off air and replaced with a podcast.
Sportsmail understands there is uncertainty around Sunday’s WSL clash between Cheslea and United, which is due to be broadcast live on BBC Two.
Live coverage of Manchester United’s clash with Chelsea is in doubt after a raft of boycotts
Alex Scott is one of those who has decided to boycott football coverage on the BBC this weekend
Scott is one of the main presenters for women’s football on the BBC but has made her stance clear while Kelly Somers, another frequent host of Women’s Super League matches, also tweeted that she would not be appearing on the BBC this weekend.
Eilidh Barbour, another BBC presenter, has liked tweets from colleagues who have pulled out from working on the broadcaster’s sports programmes.
There is also uncertainty around whether players and managers will give interviews, with several Premier League coaches set to boycott Match of the Day this evening.
The game between Chelsea and United is arguably the biggest of the WSL season so far, with the Red Devils one point ahead of the Blues at the top of the table.
It comes as it was revealed Mark Chapman would not be hosting this afternoon’s 5Live sport coverage in solidarity with Lineker.
Chapman, who hosts a number of shows across the BBC’s television and radio networks, including their Saturday afternoon sport coverage on 5Live, Match of the Day Two on Sunday evenings and the Monday Night Club, has become the latest presenter to push back against the BBC’s decision to suspend Lineker.
The news comes as it emerged Colin Murray would not be in the studio to host his Saturday morning show Fighting Talk.
Chapman’s decision to step away from hosting 5Live’s coverage on Saturday afternoon has plunged the BBC into an even deeper crisis, with both their radio and television networks deeply impacted by the last 24 hours.
‘No Fighting Talk today, for obvious reasons,’ Murray tweeted. ‘In the interest of transparency, this was a decision taken by the entire FT team and myself. Bob Mills was still up for it, to be fair.’
The crisis started when Lineker compared the Conservative party’s policy at stopping boats crossing the channel to something out of Germany in the 1930s.
Various Tory politicians and figures rejected the former England striker’s relation, with Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, labelling them ‘unhelpful’.
‘I think it’s unhelpful to compare our measures, which are lawful, proportionate and – indeed – compassionate, to 1930s Germany,’ she said.
It had seemed to have calmed down by Thursday however, with Lineker himself tweeting as much. He added that he was looking forward to hosting the BBC’s flagship highlights programme on Saturday evening.
However, in a remarkable turn of events, it was announced on Friday that the broadcaster, who has hosted Match of the Day since 1999, would be stepping back from the programme until an agreement could be reached on his use of social media.
‘The BBC has been in extensive discussions with Gary and his team in recent days. We have said that we consider his recent social media activity to be a breach of our guidelines,’ the corporation announced.
‘The BBC has decided that he will step back from presenting Match of the Day until we’ve got an agreed and clear position on his use of social media.
‘When it comes to leading our football and sports coverage, Gary is second to none. We have never said that Gary should be an opinion free zone, or that he can’t have a view on issues that matter to him, but we have said that he should keep well away from taking sides on party political issues or political controversies.’
Alan Shearer and Ian Wright, Match of the Day stalwarts alongside Lineker, announced on Friday night they would not be appearing on Saturday’s show in support of their colleague and friend.
‘I have informed the BBC that I won’t be appearing on MOTD tomorrow night,’ Shearer said.
Wright said that, despite the show meaning a lot to him, he could not appear and would not be appearing.
Meanwhile, it was revealed that the Premier League had told clubs and players that they would be stood down from their post-match Match of the Day media duties.
The BBC programme is in ‘crisis’ with no presenters, pundits or commentators for the first time in its history after the corporation’s decision to boot Gary Lineker off air led to mass walkouts
Gary Lineker was told that he either had to stop his politicised posts or quit the BBC altogether
The Premier League informed clubs that players and managers would be stood down from their post-match Match of the Day an BBC TV commitments during a chaotic Friday night.
It emerged on Saturday morning that the BBC had informed the Premier League that the 12 clubs playing today would not receive requests for interviews amid the controversial Lineker row.
Clubs playing on Sunday are awaiting on official guidance with regards to how they proceed for the BBC’s Match of the Day 2 show.
However, clubs believe that the blackout will continue unless there is a resolution in the next 24 hours.