Gary Lineker will take a step back from presenting “Match of the Day,” the iconic British football show, following controversy about a tweet he wrote earlier in the week, the BBC announced on Friday.
On Tuesday, Lineker tweeted “Good heavens, this is beyond awful” to a video posted on Twitter by the British Home Office announcing the government’s asylum seeker policy.
He then continued to write: “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?”
A statement from the BBC said the decision for Lineker to step back followed “extensive discussions” with the former England international and his team.
“We have said that we consider his recent social media activity to be a breach of our guidelines,” the statement said.
“The BBC has 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.
“When it comes to leading our football and sports coverage, Gary is second to none. We have never said that Gary should be an opinion free zone, or that he can’t have a view on issues that matter to him, but we have said that he should keep well away from taking sides on party political issues or political controversies.”
The decision has prompted a lot of reaction online.
Ian Wright, a former England international who appears on “Match of the Day” alongside Lineker, said he will not appear on the show on Saturday in response to the BBC’s decision.
“Everybody knows what Match of the Day means to me, but I’ve told the BBC I won’t be doing it tomorrow. Solidarity,” Wright tweeted.
Meanwhile, Dan Walker, a former BBC Breakfast and Football Focus presenter, tweeted: “I used to sit in for Gary Lineker on MOTD… not sure I’d fancy it this weekend. What a mess!”
Lineker’s team declined to comment on the BBC statement when contacted by CNN.