On Saturday night, the BBC presented a weird 20-minute episode of Match of the Day (MOTD).
The episode was originally scheduled to run for 80 minutes, but it was trimmed by an hour due to the ongoing drama involving the show’s star presenter Gary Lineker.
During conversations with the BBC on Friday, Lineker was advised to step down from presenting Saturday’s show.
The former England star, who has presented MOTD since 1999, got into trouble with his employers after tweeting about the government’s new asylum policy.
Lineker’s tweet sparked a debate over impartiality, and the BBC is now embroiled in a full-fledged crisis.
Ian Wright, Alan Shearer, and six other commentators were scheduled to appear on Saturday’s MOTD but withdrew in solidarity with Lineker, who spent the afternoon watching Leicester City’s Premier League match versus Chelsea at the King Power Stadium.
According to rumours, Lineker has already been offered a new job by a rival broadcaster.
Match of the Day has been airing since 1964, yet we’re unlikely to witness a stranger episode of “the world’s most famous football show,” in the words of the BBC.
The show’s iconic theme tune wasn’t even played at the top of the show, to the surprise of many on social media.
Instead, a plain graphic titled ‘Premier League highlights’ signified the beginning of this week’s historic episode of MOTD.
Watch the start of this week’s MOTD here:
utterly bizarre start to “Premier League Highlights,” formerly known as Match of the Day pic.twitter.com/2Mllhg3OOc
— Matthew Champion (@matthewchampion) March 11, 2023
What was shown instead.
— Mark Scales (@IndeedItsMark) March 11, 2023