Gary Lineker, former England soccer star, removed from BBC show after critical tweets of UK migrant policy

Gary Lineker, former England soccer star, removed from BBC show after critical tweets of UK migrant policy

Gary Lineker, a former soccer star who was an English Premier League broadcaster on BBC, was temporarily removed from his role on the station for criticizing the U.K. government’s new asylum policy.

Lineker, who made 80 appearances and made 48 goals for the England national team, compared the language in the migrant policy to that used in Nazi Germany.

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Soccer broadcaster Gary Lineker, centre right, poses for photographs with a fan in the stands, ahead of the English Premier League soccer match between Leicester City and Chelsea at the King Power Stadium, in Leicester, England, Saturday March 11, 2023. (Mike Egerton/PA via AP)

“There is no huge influx,” he tweeted Tuesday. “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, and I’m out of order?”

Lineker was a host on “Match of the Day,” and the broadcast aired Saturday without Lineker. The network said it held discussions with Lineker over his involvement on the program. According to The Associated Press, the BBC considered Lineker posting such views on social media as a breach of its guidelines.

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"Match Of The Day" host Gary Lineker outside his home in London, Sunday, March 12, 2023.

“Match Of The Day” host Gary Lineker outside his home in London, Sunday, March 12, 2023. (Lucy North/PA via AP)

“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,” the broadcasting company said. “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.”

The U.K. government called Lineker’s Nazi comparison inappropriate and unacceptable, and some lawmakers have called on him to be fired.

The 62-year-old has been the chief presenter on the show since 1999. “Match of the Day” on Saturday aired with no commentary and only featured shortened footage. The show aired for 20 minutes.

English forward Gary Lineker, right, kicks the ball past Polish defender Stefan Majewski during the World Cup first round soccer match between England and Poland, June 11, 1986 in Monterrey, Mexico.

English forward Gary Lineker, right, kicks the ball past Polish defender Stefan Majewski during the World Cup first round soccer match between England and Poland, June 11, 1986 in Monterrey, Mexico. (STAFF/AFP via Getty Images)

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Lineker told reporters on Sunday he was unable to address the situation as of now, according to The Guardian.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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