Gary Linker told to stick to football by MOTD predecessor

Gary Lineker says it’s ‘important’ he uses his platform

Gary Lineker has been told to stick to football by his Match of the Day predecessor.

Des Lynam, who presented Match of the Day from 1988 to 1999, criticised his successor for his political interventions.

Speaking on this week’s episode of BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House, Mr Lynam, 80, said: “I like him as a chap, I like him as a broadcaster.

“But I think there are some areas that he should stay out of.

“For example, the last World Cup was in Qatar and he went very, very strongly about the limitations of society in Qatar.

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“And he’s right, there are, but he’s not the person to say it. Get on with the football.”

But Lineker, 62, was quick to take to Twitter to respond, saying: “Des is entitled to his opinion… as, of course, am I.”

The football pundit – who was paid £1.35million by the BBC last year – has widely posted on social media about refugees, climate change and Brexit.

He sparked an impartiality row in March over tweets criticising the Government’s small boats crackdown.

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The former England footballer compared language used to launch the Illegal Migration Bill to that of 1930s Germany.

Lineker was pulled off air by the corporation, but returned to his Match of the Day presenting role following a boycott by fellow talent.

The BBC has since launched an independent review of its social media guidance for freelancers.

But Lineker has continued to share political views on Twitter.

He today accused the Conservatives and Labour of “abandoning our kids’ futures for votes” and a “dereliction of duty” amid wildfires in Greece.

The Match of the Day star was responding to reports that both parties could row back on environmental policies after the Tories pulled off a shock by-election victory in Uxbridge and South Ruislip amid a backlash at London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s expansion of the ultra low emission zone (ULEZ).

And earlier this week, he retweeted a post by Green peer Jenny Jones accusing Home Secretary Suella Braverman of “bullying and pointless” behaviour.

Mrs Braverman had written to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer over reports his team requested a meeting with Just Stop Oil protesters, which he denies.

The BBC declined to comment.

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