The people who joined the BBC boycott in solidarity with Gary Lineker
The BBC’s football coverage on Saturday was ripped up as several more presenters and reporters withdrew in solidarity with Gary Lineker after the Match of the Day presenter was stood down on Friday.
Neither Football Focus nor Final Score went ahead on BBC One, while 5 Live’s radio coverage was also radically altered throughout the day.
Former England internationals Alan Shearer and Ian Wright announced on Friday their boycott of this weekend’s Match of the Day programme.
Here the PA news agency looks at the high-profile presenters and journalists who joined them on Saturday.
I made a decision last night that even though I love doing football focus and we have had an incredible week winning an SJA award that it just doesn’t feel right going ahead with the show today. Hopefully I will be back in the chair next week…
— Alex Scott MBE (@AlexScott) March 11, 2023
The 38-year-old former Arsenal and England player was due to present Football Focus but said on Saturday morning that it “just doesn’t feel right going ahead with the show today”.
Scott has presented The One Show and has worked alongside Lineker in the past as a presenter of the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year programme.
She was also a contestant on one of the corporation’s flagship entertainment shows, Strictly Come Dancing, in 2019.
Just to confirm I won’t be on BBC television today. 👍🏼
— Kelly Somers (@KellySomers) March 11, 2023
In the wake of Scott’s announcement, Somers was seen as a potential contender to step in and present Football Focus but posted her own message on social media to say she would not be working for the BBC on Saturday.
Somers began her career in Bournemouth’s media team before joining the Premier League.
Since going freelance she has worked for numerous broadcasters, and was the host for the BBC’s coverage of the 2019 Women’s World Cup, and covered England at Euro 2020.
As you know, Final Score is a TV show very close to my heart.
However – I have this morning informed the BBC that I will not be presenting the show this afternoon on BBC One.
— Jason Mohammad (@jasonmohammad) March 11, 2023
Mohammad, 49, has presented Final Score since 2013.
The Welshman joined BBC Cymru Wales in 1997 and has also worked in rugby and snooker coverage, as well as deputising for Lineker and Mark Chapman on Match of the Day and Match of the Day 2.
Match of the Day 2 presenter Chapman has not made any public comment regarding the situation but his absence from his regular slot on 5 Live Sport was notable on Saturday afternoon. The 49-year-old broadcaster, also a regular on Sky Sports, has hosted the radio show since 2016, and has been at the helm of Match of the Day 2 since 2013.
In Solidarity with my BBC Sport colleagues NO 5live for me today!
— Dion Dublin (@DionDublinsDube) March 11, 2023
Former Manchester United, Coventry and Aston Villa player Dublin is a regular on Football Focus, Match of the Day and Final Score.
He was due to be part of 5 Live’s Premier League coverage on Saturday but said he would not appear in “solidarity” with his colleagues.
Dublin, 53, has built a growing media career in recent years, which extends to a presenting role on the BBC’s property show Homes Under The Hammer.
No BBC 5live commentary for me today in support of my friends and colleagues.
— Leon Osman (@Osman21Leon) March 11, 2023
Like Dublin, former Everton midfielder Osman announced he would not appear on 5 Live’s coverage as planned.
The 41-year-old is a regular pundit on the BBC, BT Sport and Sky Sports.
No @FightingTalk316 today, for obvious reasons.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 😉
— colin murray (@ColinMurray) March 11, 2023
It was not only the BBC’s Premier League coverage that was impacted on Saturday as morning talk show Fighting Talk was replaced by two football podcasts.
Murray, a former host of Match of the Day 2 who also works on the broadcaster’s music output, wrote on Twitter the decision was made “for obvious reasons” and that it was taken by “the entire FT team and myself”.
It’s always such a privilege to work with BBC MOTD. But tomorrow I have taken the decision to stand down from my punditry duties. @GaryLineker
— Jermain Defoe OBE (@IAmJermainDefoe) March 11, 2023
The first sign that the boycott will extend beyond Saturday’s coverage came when former England and Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe said he would not appear on Sunday evening’s Match of the Day 2.
There is no 606 tonight.I hope Gary Lineker and the BBC resolve this messy situation and Gary is back on MOTD soon but I’d have loved to have worked on our football phone in tonight and chatted about football and all of the days games.
— Chris Sutton (@chris_sutton73) March 11, 2023
Radio phone-in show 606 was not aired on Saturday evening, a move announced by former Blackburn and Chelsea striker Chris Sutton, a regular pundit alongside Robbie Savage. The 50-year-old said: “I hope Gary Lineker and the BBC resolve this messy situation and Gary is back on MOTD soon.”