Gary Lineker makes MOTD return – but swaps funny opener for serious message

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    Gary Lineker returned to presenting for the BBC after his week-long hiatus – and he had a serious message for fans on his return.

    The ex-footballer turned TV star: "Alan, it's good to be here," when presenting Manchester City's quarter-final FA Cup clash with Burnley. Having already shared a snap in the Match of the Day studio with the caption: "Ah the joys of being allowed to stick to football!"

    Alan Shearer then added: "I just need to clear up and wanted to say how upset we were that all the audiences who missed out on last weekend – it was a really difficult situation for everyone. Through no fault of their own some really greta people in TV and radio were put in an impossible situation, and that wasn't fair."

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    Lineker didn't present Match of the Day last weekend, the show he's hosted since 1999, after ruffling feathers with his view on the Tory government's immigration policy. He was told to step back from the role by the BBC after refusing to let them police his social media output going forward.

    But his ousting caused outrage amongst his peers including Ian Wright and Shearer, who refused to co-host MOTD without Lineker present, spearheading a mass walkout from a slew of other presenters who voiced the same opinion.

    Lineker made a cheeky reference the solidarity showed by his co-workers when he shared a snap of him, Shearer, and Micah Richards in the studio with the caption: "Teammates." The fallout from the row forced the BBC to backpedal, issue a groveling apology and reinstate Lineker to the show.

    Should Lineker keep presenting MOTD? Let us know in the comments section

    BBC director general Tim Davie said, after the two sides had come to an agreement: "Gary is a valued part of the BBC and I know how much the BBC means to Gary, and I look forward to him presenting our coverage this coming weekend.” Lineker himself added: "I am glad that we have found a way forward. I support this review and look forward to getting back on air."

    The ex-Leicester City man had already made a reference to the situation when he presented Real Madrid and Barcelona's clash earlier this week on Viaplay UK.

    When asked how he was feeling amid the controversy, Lineker sarcastically said: "Really quiet, nothing much going on," causing himself and his co-host to erupt with laughter.

    Despite returning to the BBC for the FA Cup, viewers can't expect to see Lineker on Match of the Day on Saturday evening due to the FA Cup.

    Instead, Mark Chapman will be the man presenting the first Match of the Day for two weeks.


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