‘I’ve been silenced … literally’: Gary Lineker absent for BBC after losing voice

Gary Lineker will not be on the BBC for their FA Cup quarter-final coverage on Sunday because he has lost his voice, the corporation has said.

Lineker was struggling with his voice during live coverage of Manchester City’s 6-0 win over Burnley on Saturday and it has not improved. Alex Scott will now host Sunday afternoon’s quarter-final between Premier League club Brighton and fourth-tier Grimsby Town.

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The 62-year-old presenter returned to the BBC’s live football coverage on Saturday, a week after his suspension for criticising government immigration policy caused a row over the broadcaster’s impartiality rules. In a tweet confirming his absence today, Lineker appeared to make a light-hearted reference to that controversy.

“I’ve been silenced ... literally, by a nasty cold so, annoyingly, won’t be working at Brighton this afternoon,” Lineker wrote on Twitter.

BBC managers reversed their decision to suspend Lineker, the broadcaster’s highest-paid presenter, after his colleagues refused to work in solidarity last weekend, forcing it to air Match of the Day’s football highlights without presenters, pundits or match commentary.

With Lineker hosting the live game earlier in the day, Mark Chapman presented Saturday’s Match of the Day highlights show. On Twitter, Lineker was quick to clear up that this was a pre-planned arrangement and nothing to do with the recent saga.

“For those who missed it and are asking, I presented @BBCMOTD’s live FA Cup game earlier this evening,” Lineker tweeted. “MOTD tonight was always going to be presented by the brilliant Mark Chapman. It will have good replays so you can see what happened and understand penalty calls.”