Gary Lineker says ‘it’s great to be here’ as he returns to BBC after Nazi tweet storm…and ‘upset’ Shearer speaks out

GARY Lineker has said “it’s great to be here” as he returns to the BBC for FA Cup coverage for the first time since Nazi tweet storm.

The former football star opened tonight’s programme at 5.30pm telling viewers how thrilled he was to be back at his “Saturday job”.

TWITTER/GARY LINEKERGary Lineker with teammates Alan Shearer and Micah Richards[/caption]

ReutersThe TV pundits with the FA Cup trophy before the match[/caption]

PAHe arrived at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester to present live coverage of the FA Cup quarter-final between Manchester City and Burnley[/caption]

HIs co-host and former teammate Alan Shearer also expressed how “upset” he was to have missed out on the show last week.

He said: “I want to say how upset we were that all the audiences missed out on last weekend.

“It was a really difficult situation for all concerned.

“For no fault of their own some great people in TV and radio were put in an impossible situation.

“It’s good to get back  to some sort of normality and talk about football.”

Lineker responded: “I echo those sentiments.”

He marked his return to the popular TV show by tweeting a picture of him and teammates Alan Shearer and Micah Richards.

He tweeted this afternoon as he prepares to commentate live coverage of the FA Cup quarter-final between Manchester City and Burnley.

The smiling pic of the trio comes minutes after Lineker posted a selfie with the caption: “Ah the joys of being allowed to stick to football.”

While he makes his appearance Mark Chapman has taken over Match Of The Day hosting duties.

It has also been reported the 62-year-old is yet to confirm his role presenting the BBC’s Champions League coverage when it kicks off next year.

This comes as rival, BT Sport, is said to be targeting Lineker for their TNT Sports next season, according to Mail Online.

The BBC’s highest-paid presenter, on £1.35million a year, is returning to TV after being suspended from his Match of the Day presenting duties following criticism of Suella Braverman’s migrant boats plan.

The former Barcelona striker took to Twitter to hit out at the Illegal Migration Bill, which bans people who arrive on small boats from settling in Britain.

He wrote: “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 bill will see migrants detained and removed to their home country, or a safe third state within 28 days.

Today saw the arrival of the Home Secretary in Rwanda, to meet with President Paul Kagame and her counterpart Vincent Biruta, to discuss the plan.

Lineker’s words were considered in breach of the BBC’s strict impartiality rules which state that staff must avoid taking sides on political controversies.

In a statement, the BBC previously said it had “decided that he will step back from presenting Match of the Day until we’ve got an agreed and clear position on his use of social media.”

Lineker’s co-hosts on the show, Ian Wright and Alan Shearer also stepped back from the show in support if their colleague.

Ultimately Lineker’s return was announced as he agreed to abide by existing guidelines and welcomed a new independent review into BBC stars’ use of social media.

“I am glad we have found a way forward. I support this review and look forward to getting back on air”, he said.

Since the controversy exploded, the BBC have also come under fire for their handling of the situation.

BBC director-general Tim Davie, who made the call to suspend Lineker, faced an embarrassing climbdown just 72 hours later when he reversed the decision.

Mr Davie said in a statement the corporation has commissioned an independent review of its social media guidelines and apologised for the impartiality row.

He described the BBC’s commitment to freedom of expression and impartiality as a “difficult balancing act”.

“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”, he added.

PAIt is the first time he will hit TV screens again after his chaotic Tweet row[/caption]

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