Match of the Day to last ‘just 20 minutes’ as boycott forces reduced programme

Match of the Day will be shown tonight on BBC One but will last “just 20 minutes” - with no presenter, pundits, commentary or interviews - after the fallout from the decision to take Gary Lineker off air forced the BBC into a heavily limited highlights programme.

The BBC said on Friday night that Match of the Day would be shown “without studio presentation or punditry” after Ian Wright and Alan Shearer stepped down out of “solidarity” with Lineker, but the withdrawal of Match of the Day’s commentators forced producers into a further rethink.

The BBC apologised for “limited sport programming this weekend” after Football Focus and Final Score were axed from Saturday afternoon’s schedule.

The programmes were pulled after hosts Alex Scott and Jason Mohammed said they would not appear on air. It comes after the BBC ruled Lineker’s criticism of the government’s new asylum policy had breached their impartiality guidelines.

The BBC are reporting that Match of the Day will go ahead tonight but with a running time of around 20 minutes, an hour less than originally scheduled. Match of the Day is scheduled to begin at 10:20pm tonight.

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