It’s doubtful that the BBC could’ve envisaged the fall out from their decision to ask Gary Lineker to step back from hosting Saturday night’s Match of the Day.
Lineker, as is his wont, tweets about all manner of subjects but in a personal capacity, and yet the corporation saw fit to, apparently, remind him of his responsibilities regarding social media.
With the presenter seemingly not willing to back down from the row, the BBC then took the, frankly outrageous, decision to ensure he wouldn’t present this weekend’s coverage.
The backlash has been extensive with pundits, cameramen and even Premier League players and managers standing in solidarity with Lineker.
NEW | all 6 commentators due to work on MOTD tmrw pull out. Joint statement ?? https://t.co/0rSuUcoxWn pic.twitter.com/mIyIEmUftH
— Dan Roan (@danroan) March 10, 2023
PFA statement ?? pic.twitter.com/7k89oSFxF6
— Dan Roan (@danroan) March 11, 2023
What the situation has done has highlighted the need for change at the very top of the BBC.
It would appear that if the government clicks its fingers, those in charge of the nation’s broadcasting come running.
Gary Lineker to step back from presenting Match of the Day until agreement reached on social media use – BBC statement https://t.co/WMsgqRzWrw
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) March 10, 2023
With such a public outcry, and almost unwavering support for Lineker, the BBC have irreparably damaged their reputation.
The short term ramifications for their football coverage are obvious, but longer term could be a real issue for them.
If the current impasse isn’t sorted out to everyone’s satisfaction, there remains the possibility of the BBC losing its football coverage altogether.
They retain the rights to FA Cup matches, but who is going to want to work for them in the current climate?!
Only time will tell if there’s a way in which there can be a sensible resolution to such a fiasco, but even if there is, it won’t be forgotten in a hurry by those that work at the corporation or those that watch its programmes.
To use football parlance, the BBC have scored a real own goal here.
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