The BBC has apologised after it was forced to pull several sports programmes following a boycott by presenters and pundits in support of Gary Lineker.

The broadcaster said it would air only “limited sport programming” over the weekend and was “working hard to resolve the situation”.

It comes after Lineker was told to step back from hosting the Saturday edition of the football highlights programme in a row over impartiality.

Saturday’s TV and radio sporting timetables were changed at the last minute and Sunday’s Match Of The Day has also been thrown into question.

In a statement, a BBC spokesperson said: “The BBC will only be able to bring limited sport programming this weekend and our schedules will be updated to reflect that.

“We are sorry for these changes which we recognise will be disappointing for BBC sport fans.

“We are working hard to resolve the situation and hope to do so soon.”

A source had previously said that the presenter would not be facing any disciplinary actions after his tweet, as some people argued that Lineker should be free to express his political opinions as he's not a political reporter.

Some of Lineker's fellow BBC sports presenters, including Alex Scott, Kelly Somers and Jason Mohammad, have also said they were pulling out of their shows in support of Lineker, which resulted in Football Focus and Final Score being scrapped from the BBC One schedule, while 5 Live’s radio coverage was also altered.

About this, the BBC said: “Some of our pundits have said that they don’t wish to appear on the programme while we seek to resolve the situation with Gary.

“We understand their position and we have decided that the programme will focus on match action without studio presentation or punditry.”

On Tuesday, Gary commented on a Twitter video put out by Home Secretary Suella Braverman, in which she unveiled government plans to stop migrant boats crossing the Channel.

“Good heavens, this is beyond awful,” he wrote.

Responding to the sports broadcaster, another Twitter user described his comment as “out of order”, adding that it was “easy to pontificate when it doesn’t affect you”.

Gary responded: “There is no huge influx. We take far fewer refugees than other major European countries.

“This is just an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s, and I’m out of order?”

The tweet divided public opinion – but received more than 56,700 likes and more than 56,700 retweets.

On Thursday, Gary thanked his followers for the support he had received.

He tweeted: “Well, it’s been an interesting couple of days. Happy that this ridiculously out of proportion story seems to be abating and very much looking forward to presenting @bbcmotd on Saturday.

“Thanks again for all your incredible support. It’s been overwhelming.”


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