Gary Lineker: Piers Morgan speaks out in defence of Match of the Day host over ‘ridiculous’ BBC impartiality row

Piers Morgan has shared messages of support for Gary Lineker after the BBC announced that the presenter would be “stepping back” from hosting Match of the Day.

The former England striker is at the centre of a public debate about impartiality at the BBC, after he compared a video unveiling the government’s asylum policy to rhetoric used in Germany in the 1930s.

On Friday (10 March), the BBC said that Lineker would not continue presenting MOTD until an “agreed and clear position” on his social media use had been reached.

This led to his co-hosts Alan Shearer and Ian Wright pulling out of presenting the show on Saturday (11 March) in “solidarity”. Micah Richards, Jermaine Jenas and Alex Scott also ruled themselves out of appearing on the show, meaning it will go ahead without any presenters.

You can follow The Independent’s live blog for updates.

On Saturday (11 March), Morgan spoke out in defence of Lineker on Twitter.

“Comical to witness so many supposed free speech advocates furiously expressing their opinion that @GaryLineker should be sacked for expressing his opinion. Just about sums up this ridiculous farrago,” the TalkTV host tweeted.

“Reminder: everyone currently baying for Lineker’s blood would be saying the complete opposite if he’d tweeted he supports the Govt’s small boats policy.”

When one of his followers disagreed with Morgan, stating that the BBC were right to “demand action” given the public funding of the broadcaster and Lineker, the presenter responded: “Gary didn’t say any of it on the BBC, and isn’t even a BBC employee.

“I didn’t agree with what he said, but so what? It’s HIS opinion.”

The BBC’s decisions regarding Lineker have sparked backlash throughout the corporation, with both Football Focus and Final Score being pulled from the channel’s schedule at the last minute.

Scott had tweeted saying that she would not host Football Focus this week as “it doesn’t feel right for me to go ahead with the show”. Morgan praised the former England player for her stance, calling it “ballsy”.

BBC Radio 5 Live’s sports coverage has also been cancelled.