BBC: Furious staff ‘confront’ management over Gary Lineker saga as internal war breaks out | Football | Sport


BBC staff have reportedly confronted members of management over the Gary Lineker saga with 80% said to have rated the handling of the situation as zero out of five. Director of BBC Sport Barbara Slater has been the focus of much of the ire with a series of meetings placed under the microscope.

The BBC was thrust into crisis on Friday night after announcing that Lineker would be taken off air over a tweet that compared the language surrounding the Government’s immigration policy to that of 1930s Germany.

Many of the 62-year-old’s colleagues including Ian Wright, Alan Shearer and Alex Scott refused to star on any BBC Sport programmes over the weekend as a result of the decision, leaving the broadcasters’ output embarrassingly depleted. Football Focus and Final Score did not air while Match of the Day was restricted to short 20-minute shows with no punditry or commentary.

The situation has now been resolved with the BBC forced into an embarrassing climbdown by reinstating Lineker for the live FA Cup coverage this weekend – and it appears some sports staff are unhappy at the way corporation bosses handled the situation.

The Daily Mail reports that there was a ‘huge rift’ in the department with some staff members directly confronting Slater during a series of uncomfortable meetings. 80% of staff rated the response to the crisis at zero out of five in an underwhelming judgement.

The 63-year-old is said to have annoyed staff by claiming management could ‘not have seen how the situation would spiral’ as presenters and pundits rallied behind Lineker. There is also said to be consternation over why the broadcaster did not find someone to replace the former England striker for Match of the Day with Slater offering the excuse that he was ‘the best in the business.’

There is also believed to be some anger over perceived inconsistencies as staff have their own social media accounts closely monitored in a way Lineker’s is not. Others are said to be unhappy at a general lack of leadership after being left in the dark over whether or not shows would go ahead until the very last moment.

Express Sport has approached the BBC for comment.

BBC Director General Tim Davie offered an apology to all staff as he announced Lineker’s return to air after they were caught up in the confusion.

“Everyone recognises this has been a difficult period for staff, contributors, presenters and, most importantly, our audiences,” he said. “I apologise for this. The potential confusion caused by the grey areas of the BBC’s social media guidance that was introduced in 2020 is recognised. I want to get matters resolved and our sport content back on air.”

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