Jeff Stelling had viewers in stitches with his introduction to Soccer Saturday after the BBC told Gary Lineker to step back from presenting Match of the Day (MOTD).
The BBC are in crisis after news broke that Lineker would not be presenting MOTD until an agreement is reached over the presenter’s social media use.
Lineker criticised the government’s new asylum policy, leading to an impartiality row.
Ian Wright and Alan Shearer also said that they would not be appearing on Saturday night’s edition of MOTD following the decision to suspend Lineker.
All six commentators who were due to commentate for MOTD have also pulled out in order to show solidarity with Lineker, while presenters on other BBC shows have done the same, including Football Focus’ host Alex Scott.
Commentator Steve Wilson tweeted on Friday evening: “As commentators on MOTD, we have decided to step down from tomorrow night’s broadcast. We are comforted that football fans who want to watch their teams should still be able to do so, as management can use World Feed commentary if they wish.
“However, in the circumstances, we do not feel it would be appropriate to take part in the programme.”
What did Jeff Stelling say on Soccer Saturday?
Stelling, one of the most loved and respected figures in British TV, praised Wright for telling the BBC that he wouldn’t be appearing on Saturday’s MOTD.
And the 67-year-old opened Soccer Saturday on Sky Sports with the following line: “Hello, a very good afternoon and welcome to this Gillette Soccer Saturday.
“I need to be right at the top of my game today because there is a top-notch football presenter available on Saturdays now…”
Watch the clip here:
Indeed, Jeff. Indeed.
But for how long Lineker is available currently remains unclear.
Where was Gary Lineker on Saturday?
Instead of getting ready to present Saturday night’s MOTD, Lineker was instead seen at Leicester City’s King Power Stadium to watch his team in action against Chelsea.
The BBC, meanwhile, have apologised for what they say will be “limited sport programming this weekend”.
A statement read: “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.”
When did Gary Lineker start presenting MOTD?
Lineker has presented MOTD since 1999 and is the BBC’s highest-paid star.
It’s fair to say that everyone concerned will be hoping to come to an agreement over this ongoing furore as soon as possible.