Wright and Shearer avoid punishment over Match of the Day boycott

Ian Wright and Alan Shearer WON’T face punishment for boycotting Match of the Day in support of Gary Lineker, after Tim Davie apologised in an email to staff for a ‘difficult period for staff’

  • BBC director general Tim Davie apologised and confirmed Gary Lineker’s return
  • Ian Wright and Alan Shearer were among the BBC stars to boycott programmes
  • Sportsmail understands BBC bosses will not punish staff who walked out

Ian Wright and Alan Shearer will not face punishment after boycotting Match of the Day in support of Gary Lineker, with the BBC having reached an agreement for the host to return.

BBC bosses decided to take the Lineker off air on Friday, after he posted a Tweet criticising the UK government’s immigration policy.

Wright was the first person to publicly back Lineker by stating he would not take part in the show on Saturday.

The former Arsenal striker tweeted on Friday night: ‘Everybody knows what Match of the Day means to me, but I’ve told the BBC I won’t be doing it tomorrow. Solidarity.’ 

Speaking on Friday’s ‘Wrighty House’ podcast, Wright added ‘I tell you something if they do, the BBC, get rid of Gary Lineker, I am out, I’m gone, I’m not staying there.’

 Alan Shearer, centre, and Ian Wright, right, will not face punishment for their boycott

Wright was the first person to pull out of Match of the Day in support of Gary Lineker

Shearer and Wright instead appeared on the Premier League’s coverage on Sunday

Wright’s initial post was followed by confirmation from Shearer that he would not appear on the programme, depriving the BBC of two of the show’s regular pundits.

Wright and Shearer’s withdrawals began a wider boycott including commentators, which led to the BBC broadcasting a scaled down 20-minute highlights package.

Football Focus and Final Score were axed on Saturday, while the BBC’s radio output and Match of the Day 2 were also impacted.

Alex Scott and Mark Chapman were among presenters to have pulled out of shows. 

Both Wright and Shearer appeared on the Premier League’s television coverage of Fulham vs Arsenal on Sunday. 

Sportsmail understands that those who walked out in support of Lineker will face no action from BBC bosses.

This followed a remarkable climbdown, with BBC Director General Tim Davie announcing a peace deal had been agreed for Lineker to return.

Lineker said on Monday he ‘cannot wait’ to be back on the BBC this weekend but was defiant in the face of criticism, suggesting some of his detractors are intolerant.

He tweeted: ‘However difficult the last few days have been, it simply doesn’t compare to having to flee your home from persecution or war to seek refuge in a land far away. 

‘It’s heartwarming to have seen the empathy towards their plight from so many of you. We remain a country of predominantly tolerant, welcoming and generous people. Thank you’.

The BBC confirmed on Monday that Gary Lineker will return to hosting Match of the Day

BBC director general Tim Davie apologised for the ‘difficult period’ for staff and audiences

Davie, who is facing calls to resign over the debacle, has insisted he did ‘the right thing’ in asking Lineker to ‘step aside’.

The BBC director general admitted he had taken stock over the weekend and invited the star to return to work.

Davie issued an apology over the ‘difficult period for staff, contributors, presenters and audiences’, blaming ‘confusion’ and ‘grey areas’ in the BBC’s social media guidance.

The social media guidance is now set to be reviewed.

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