Match of the Day plans to air with NO host or pundits after BBC forced Gary Lineker off-air

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The BBC’s Match of the Day is in ‘crisis’ with no presenters, pundits or commentators for the first time in its 59-year history after the corporation’s decision to boot Gary Lineker off air led to mass walkouts. 

Lineker, 62, will not present the nation’s flagship football show after the BBC decided his ‘Nazi’ jibe tweet that compared the Home Office’s immigration policy to 1930s Germany breached impartiality rules.

BBC bosses told the former England striker yesterday that he either had to stop his politicised posts or quit the BBC altogether.

Last night a senior source said: ‘It’s now up to Lineker — he needs to choose.’

However, the MOTD star was roundly supported by colleagues, with co-hosts Ian Wright and Alan Shearer staging a walkout in solidarity, which started a mass exodus of BBC staff from the programme in protest.

Pundits Alex Scott, Jermaine Jenas, Mark Chapman and Micah Richards followed suit before the show’s commentators boycotted the programme. 

A well-placed insider described the presenters’ mutiny as a ‘proper BBC crisis’. 

There were even suggestions football players and managers could shun the BBC’s interviews after matches over the weekend.  

Match of the Day plans to air with NO host or pundits after BBC forced Gary Lineker off-air

Regular Match of the Day commentator Steve Wilson said he and other talking heads have vowed not to participate in tomorrow’s program, which has been boycotted by nearly all of its regular stars

Fellow football pundit Ian Wright today tweeted that he would also shun presenting Match of the Day while the ban is in place, expressing 'solidarity' with his co-host

Fellow football pundit Ian Wright today tweeted that he would also shun presenting Match of the Day while the ban is in place, expressing ‘solidarity’ with his co-host

Alan Shearer is the latest withdrawal from Match of the Day, tweeting this evening: 'I have informed the BBC that I won’t be appearing on MOTD tomorrow night'

Alan Shearer is the latest withdrawal from Match of the Day, tweeting this evening: ‘I have informed the BBC that I won’t be appearing on MOTD tomorrow night’

The BBC confirmed it was unable to find a presenter to fill the vacant hot seat, and with no top commentators the corporation may have to rely on the Premier League’s world feed service.

Regular Match of the Day commentator Steve Wilson said he and other talking heads have vowed not to participate in the next programme.

He said: ‘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.’

He added: ‘In the circumstances, we do not feel it would be appropriate to take part in the programme.’

Announcing the changes to this week’s show, a BBC spokesperson said: ‘Some of our pundits have said that they don’t wish to appear on the program while we seek to resolve the situation with Gary.

‘We understand their position and we have decided that the program will focus on match action without studio presentation or punditry.’

A source close to Match of the Day told MailOnline that even the production team was ‘considering walking in support of Gary Lineker and have contacted their union’.

However, they were cautious to go ahead, because as there has ‘been no ballot action, they won’t be protected by law.’

At one stage the BBC were facing the prospect of scrapping Saturday night’s edition altogether.

Yet cancellation would have put them in breach of a £70million-a-year contract with the Premier League. 

The last time Match of the Day was removed from screen was 30 years ago when technical staff protested.

Match of the Day's decision to take Gary Lineker (left) off air over his comments about the Government has led to a walkout from fellow hosts Alan Shearer (centre) and Ian Wright (right)

Match of the Day’s decision to take Gary Lineker (left) off air over his comments about the Government has led to a walkout from fellow hosts Alan Shearer (centre) and Ian Wright (right)

The mass walkouts by BBC talent started when former Arsenal striker Ian Wright tweeted: ‘Everybody knows what Match of the Day means to me, but I’ve told the BBC I won’t be doing it tomorrow. Solidarity.’ 

Then former Newcastle star Alan Shearer said he would follow suit. 

He said: ‘I have informed the BBC that I won’t be appearing on MOTD tomorrow night.’

MOTD pundit Alex Scott also ruled herself out of Saturday’s show, sharing a meme with the word ‘nah’, while the bookies’ former favourite Jermaine Jenas confirmed he wouldn’t host the programme.

Former Manchester City defender Micah Richards also backed Wright and Shearer’s decision to boycott the BBC show on Saturday.

‘I was not due to be working on MOTD tomorrow, but if I was, I would find myself taking the same decision that @IanWright0 & @alanshearer have,’ he tweeted.

Broadcaster Piers Morgan, a friend of Lineker’s, also tweeted his disgust, branding the BBC’s decision ‘pathetically spineless’.

Morgan added: ‘I now demand the BBC suspend every presenter who has made public comment about news or current affairs – starting with Sir David Attenborough and Lord Sugar.’

Channel 5 News presenter Dan Walker earlier said on air that Lineker told him ‘they’ve [the BBC] told me I have to step back’.

Speaking on Channel 5 News, Walker said: ‘It’s one of those strange situations where I’m actually texting the man himself (Lineker) at the moment.

‘And I have asked Gary Lineker the question about whether he is stepping back or whether the BBC have told him to step back and I’ve told him that if he responds to me that I will read out that text on air.

‘There’s one word in there I can’t use, but he has said ‘No, they’ve told me I have to step back’.

‘So Gary Lineker wants to continue to present Match Of The Day and is not apologising for what he’s said but he’s said it’s a BBC decision to force him to not present the programme at the moment.’

The extent of the subsequent backlash from BBC’s talent pool has taken the corporation by surprise.

Seemingly no contingency plans were put in place, a decision branded as ‘incredible’ by former BBC journalist Jon Sopel.

Sopel said earlier on Friday that to strike Lineker from the schedules without a plan in place would be ‘plain careless’. 

While presenting and punditry teams have backed Lineker, BBC sources told Sportsmail there is a division among production staff. 

Alex Scott has also ruled herself out of tomorrow's show, sharing a meme with the word 'nah'

Alex Scott has also ruled herself out of tomorrow’s show, sharing a meme with the word ‘nah’

Many prominent figures have condemned the BBC's move - even Gary Lineker's own son George

Many prominent figures have condemned the BBC’s move – even Gary Lineker’s own son George  

Gary Lineker will step back from presenting Match of the Day pending further discussions with his bosses, the BBC announced today. He's seen outside his London home this morning

Gary Lineker will step back from presenting Match of the Day pending further discussions with his bosses, the BBC announced today. He’s seen outside his London home this morning 

Channel 5 News presenter Dan Walker said Gary Lineker has told him 'they've [the BBC] told me I have to step back'

Channel 5 News presenter Dan Walker said Gary Lineker has told him ‘they’ve [the BBC] told me I have to step back’

The Match of the Day host accused ministers of using 'language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 1930s'

The Match of the Day host accused ministers of using ‘language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 1930s’

Some sympathise with Lineker but others feel he is asking for preferential treatment by effectively ignoring BBC impartiality guidelines.

Another widely held view was that while big-name former players who work for several broadcasters can afford to turn down one appearance, refusing to turn up to work would have been far harder for staff. 

For outside viewers, the drama of the tug-of-war between Lineker and his BBC paymasters has proved irresistible.

Lineker’s son George tweeted mischievously: ‘RIP MOTD tomorrow.’

However the decision has been welcomed by some, with former Tory leader William Hague said it was ‘appropriate’ for Gary Lineker to step back from hosting Match Of The Day.

‘He broke the guidelines I think of the BBC with comments that are highly politicised, which BBC presenters are not meant to do. So that’s against the rules and we’ve got to do something about that, otherwise every presenter can do so on every programme,’ he told Times Radio.

‘I think it is appropriate for him to step back.’

Lord Hague added ‘I don’t know if you can separate’ Lineker’s personal social media and role as a BBC presenter.

The BBC said Lineker would ‘step back’ from presenting the programme until he and his bosses had reached an ‘agreed and clear position’ on his use of social media.

The BBC’s highest paid star sparked a huge political row this week after comparing the language used to launch a new government crackdown on migrants arriving across the Channel in small boats to 1930s Germany. 

Elsewhere, members of the public who support Lineker will likely view his ban as a sign that the BBC is acting ‘at the Government’s behest’, the BBC’s former controller of editorial policy said.

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Richard Ayre, who also served as a member of Ofcom’s content board, told BBC Radio 4’s Today PM programme this afternoon that the BBC had ‘no choice’ but to take action against Lineker after his tweets criticising the Government’s asylum policy.

He said: ‘I think it was inevitable.’

‘He [Lineker] has the letters BBC written across his forehead and yet he’s plunged right into the most controversial story of the day.’

‘The fact is this was an immediate issue which Tim Davie, the Director General, couldn’t sit on over the weekend, he had to solve it this week. He’s clearly tried to solve it and reach an agreement with Gary Lineker, they’ve failed, so this has been the BBC decision. Whether this story moves on depends on what Gary Lineker says himself in the next few hours.’

‘It’s inevitable now that having in effect not sacked him but removed him temporarily at least, the BBC will not come under a torrent of criticism saying it’s acting under the Government’s behest.’

Former BBC Newsnight host Emily Maitlis, who was herself reprimanded by the BBC for sharing a tweet the corporation viewed as ‘controversial’, said her former employer could face a ‘much, much bigger battle’ after its Gary Lineker decision.

‘I’m not sure when they suggested to Gary Lineker he step back from (Match Of The Day) the BBC realised it might be starting a much much bigger battle,’ she tweeted.

Former BBC executive Richard Sambrook said there is ‘a lot of confusion’ around whether freelance broadcasters such as Gary Lineker – who do not work in news – should be subject to the same rules as permanent staff. 

Mr Sambrook, who was director of news at the BBC and director of BBC Global News and the BBC World Service, was asked Lineker’s comments. 

He replied: ‘I think the language he used was unnecessarily provocative but the wider question here is whether a sports presenter in his private life has to be bound by BBC policies. 

‘Traditionally, the BBC would always want that to be the case but I think in the current day and age when we live in a world full of social media, when journalism broadcasters have the ability to go and work for other people or do their own podcasts and all the rest of it, that’s a bit of an unrealistic expectation.’

Lineker’s comments were criticised by Downing Street and a raft of Tory heavyweights including Home Secretary Suella Braverman and James Cleverly, the Foreign Secretary. 

The former Leicester striker has a history of controversial political interventions on everything from Brexit and the Tories to protests by Just Stop Oil and the fate of Shamima Begum

Gary Lineker, 62, reportedly refused to apologise for his comments comparing the Government's migration policy to Nazi Germany and he has been roundly supported by colleagues

Gary Lineker, 62, reportedly refused to apologise for his comments comparing the Government’s migration policy to Nazi Germany and he has been roundly supported by colleagues

Lineker's tweeting history has raised more than a few eyebrows over the years

Lineker’s tweeting history has raised more than a few eyebrows over the years

A BBC spokesman said: ‘The BBC has been in extensive discussions with Gary and his team in recent days. We have said that we consider his recent social media activity to be a breach of our guidelines.

‘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 BBC has faced repeated calls to sack Lineker over his anti-Tory tweets, while Mr Cleverly this morning swiped that the ex-England footballer was ‘desperate to gain attention’.

But Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, speaking on a visit to Glasgow, defended Lineker’s right to make his political views known.

A Labour spokesman said: ‘The BBC’s cowardly decision to take Gary Lineker off air is an assault on free speech in the face of political pressure. Tory politicians lobbying to get people sacked for disagreeing with Government policies should be laughed at, not pandered to. The BBC should rethink.’ 

Lineker’s comments were criticised by Downing Street and a raft of Tory heavyweights including Home Secretary Suella Braverman and James Cleverly, the Foreign Secretary. 

The former Leicester striker has a history of controversial political interventions on everything from Brexit and the Tories to protests by Just Stop Oil and the fate of Shamima Begum

A BBC spokesman said: ‘The BBC has been in extensive discussions with Gary and his team in recent days. We have said that we consider his recent social media activity to be a breach of our guidelines.

‘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 BBC has faced repeated calls to sack Lineker over his anti-Tory tweets, while Mr Cleverly this morning swiped that the ex-England footballer was ‘desperate to gain attention’.

‘I wouldn’t personally say what Gary Lineker has said, but I would defend his right to say it,’ the Labour leader said.

‘What I see here is a Government that hasn’t got a proper answer in relation to control of our borders and is looking around, as it always does, to other people to blame, Gary Lineker, the BBC, civil servants, anybody.

‘I think anybody watching this will be crying out for a government that actually says ‘There’s a problem here, it’s a problem of our making, we’re going to stand up and we’re going to fix it’.

‘The sooner we can get back to that grown-up approach and not just casting blame around the better.’

Rishi Sunak insisted his Government's actions over the Channel migrant crisis were the 'compassionate thing to do'

Rishi Sunak insisted his Government’s actions over the Channel migrant crisis were the ‘compassionate thing to do’

Lineker has refused to step down and the BBC has yet to take action against him over his outburst.

Mr Cleverly urged the ex-sportsman to study history ‘a little bit more carefully’ in the wake of his Nazi Germany jibe.

Speaking to LBC from Paris, where the PM and his top team met their French counterparts today, the Foreign Secretary said: ‘There are some people desperate to gain attention by using deeply offensive and inappropriate language about this.

‘I would gently suggest they read their history books a little bit more carefully. The simple truth of the matter is the UK is a welcoming and hospitable country.’

Former culture secretary Nadine Dorries also weighed in. The TV host and MP said that failure to fire Lineker would mean the BBC was only paying ‘lip service’ to its remit of impartiality.

Mr Sunak himself insisted his Government’s actions on the Channel migrant crisis were the ‘moral and compassionate thing to do’.

‘I strongly believe that what we’re doing is the right thing to do,’ the PM said today, when asked about Mr Lineker’s intervention.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, on a visit to Paris, this morning swiped that the ex-England footballer was 'desperate to gain attention'

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, on a visit to Paris, this morning swiped that the ex-England footballer was ‘desperate to gain attention’

Gary Lineker’s long list of Twitter controversies

January 2023

Then-culture secretary Michelle Donelan said the BBC should be ‘conscious’ of recent comments made by Lineker.

Ms Donelan was speaking to The News Agents podcast about remarks Lineker had made on the same show about the World Cup in Qatar and racism in America.

October 2022 

Lineker breached BBC impartiality rules with a social media post criticising the Tories, the broadcaster’s complaints team ruled.

The Match of the Day host, 62, used Twitter to quote an article about Liz Truss – then foreign secretary – urging Premier League teams to boycott the Champions League final in Russia.

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In his post, the former England striker, who has more than 8.7million followers on Twitter, added: ‘And her party will hand back their donations from Russian donors?’.

August 2022 

Lineker sparked a row with a senior BBC journalist this year with a Tweet about sewerage.

He wrote on Twitter: ‘As a politician how could you ever, under any circumstances, bring yourself to vote for pumping sewage into our seas? Unfathomable!’

The tweet prompted veteran BBC journalist Neil Henderson, a home and foreign news editor, to ask the £1.35million-a-year presenter if his contract allowed him to breach the corporation’s impartiality rules. 

The journalist wrote to him: ‘The BBC lives or dies by its impartiality. If you can’t abide it, get off it.’

Mr Henderson, following discussions with BBC bosses, later issued an apology. 

July 2022  

Lineker found himself at odds with ex-racing driver turned Sky commentator Martin Brundle over his response to a Just Stop Oil protest.

Protesters stormed the British Grand Prix, sparking fury from Brundle, who said they could have been killed.

Lineker tweeted: ‘History will look back very favourably on these people’. 

But Brundle replied: ‘Gary please don’t encourage this reckless behaviour. ‘They’d have been sliced into 100 pieces and fans, marshals and drivers were wholly at risk of injury and death. I totally support freedom of speech and opinion, but do it responsibly.’ 

October 2020

Lineker said he had spoken to the BBC’s director-general Tim Davie ‘quite a few times in recent weeks’ and that Mr Davie was ‘perfectly happy’ with his conduct on social media.

His comments came after new guidelines and training were announced by the BBC to ‘ensure the highest possible standards of impartiality’ among staff at the broadcaster.

February 2018 

Lineker was challenged over his comments on Brexit by BBC cricket commentator Jonathan Agnew.

Agnew, responding to one of Lineker’s posts, Tweeted: ‘Gary. You are the face of BBC Sport. Please observe BBC editorial guidelines… I’d be sacked if I followed your example. Thanks.’

‘I think it’s the fair thing to do and I actually believe that it’s the moral and compassionate thing to do, and I’ve made that argument multiple times.

‘I’ll continue to make it and I think actually the more people think about this challenge and how best to address it they will see that it is the right approach.

‘And actually I was pleased that there was actually quite a lot of strong support for the approach we’ve outlined now that we’ve outlined it, because this is about thinking what’s the best way to help the world’s most vulnerable people.’

Yesterday Mrs Braverman accused Lineker of diminishing the tragedy of the Holocaust as ministers engaged in an open row with the BBC star.

She said she found the comments ‘offensive’ because her husband is Jewish.

‘My children are therefore directly descendant from people who were murdered in gas chambers during the Holocaust,’ she told the BBC’s Political Thinking podcast.

‘To kind of throw out those kind of flippant analogies diminishes the unspeakable tragedy that millions of people went through and I don’t think anything that is happening in the UK today can come close to what happened in the Holocaust.

‘So I find it a lazy and unhelpful comparison to make.’

House of Commons leader Penny Mordaunt claimed Labour were ‘borrowing from the Gary Lineker playbook’ by being the ‘party of goal hangers’ taking easy shots against the Government.

The ex-England striker hit back at Ms Mordaunt’s ‘clumsy analogy’, saying he was ‘just happy to have been better in the six-yard box than you are at the dispatch box’. 

Lineker has said he is looking forward to presenting Match of the Day this weekend despite the ‘ridiculously out of proportion story’ surrounding his comments.

Criticising the Government’s new asylum plans earlier this week, he tweeted: ‘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.’

Former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said he would boycott Match Of The Day. 

Mr Farron tweeted: ‘And I will be stepping back from watching the programme until the @BBC grows a backbone. Still, I’m sure we can count on the Free Speech Union to stand up against this hysterical act of cancellation…’

Henry Winter, the chief football writer for The Times who has regularly appeared on the BBC’s Radio 5 Live, said the broadcaster should be ‘ashamed’ by its decision.

‘Disappointing that coverage of (Match Of The Day) dictated by politicians,’ he tweeted. ‘Not what BBC should be about. BBC should be ashamed. Should be independent of No 10. Ian Wright replaced by Ian Duncan-Smith?

‘Many good people working for BBC football who deserve better from their craven bosses.’

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn praised Gary Lineker and Ian Wright on Twitter. Corbyn wrote: ‘Well done @GaryLineker for standing up for refugees. Well done @IanWright0 for showing the meaning of solidarity.

‘Now, let’s mobilise against a politics of cruelty, and defeat this inhumane, illegal & immoral legislation.’

Former culture secretary Nadine Dorries has said she welcomes the decision for Gary Lineker to step back from Match Of The Day, saying it shows the BBC is ‘serious about impartiality’.

‘News that @GaryLineker has been stood down for investigation is welcome and shows @BBC are serious about impartiality,’ the TalkTV host tweeted.

Does the BBC need Gary Lineker more than he needs them? How ex-footballer has amassed £26m fortune with podcasts, broadcasting and advertising deals (just don’t mention the two divorces and HMRC tax row)

Former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said he would boycott Match Of The Day amid the Gary Lineker row.

Sharing a headline saying the presenter will be ‘stepping back’ from the show, Mr Farron tweeted: ‘And I will be stepping back from watching the programme until the @BBC grows a backbone. Still, I’m sure we can count on the Free Speech Union to stand up against this hysterical act of cancellation…’

Henry Winter, the chief football writer for The Times who has regularly appeared on the BBC’s Radio 5 Live, said the broadcaster should be ‘ashamed’ by its decision to ask Gary Lineker to step back from hosting Match Of The Day.

‘Disappointing that coverage of (Match Of The Day) dictated by politicians,’ he tweeted.

‘Not what BBC should be about. BBC should be ashamed. Should be independent of No 10. Ian Wright replaced by Ian Duncan-Smith?

‘Many good people working for BBC football who deserve better from their craven bosses.’

By Martin Robinson, Chief Reporter for MailOnline

Gary Lineker earns £1.36-million-a-year from the BBC for Match of the Day, Sports Personality of the Year and other shows in a near three-decade broadcasting career that has helped him build a £26million nest egg.

The 62-year-old is the highest-paid ‘talent’ at the corporation but as the Beeb considers standing by him yet again over his highly political tweets, experts are pondering if another reprieve is a clear sign they need him much more than he needs them.

The footballer turned broadcaster has amassed much of his fortune since starting at the BBC in the mid-1990s – but insists he does not fear leaving over the row where he compared Tory policy on migrants in boats to Nazi Germany.

And MailOnline can reveal that he has close to ten other income streams with four years until the twice-married father-of-four hits retirement age – although a legal battle with HMRC over a £4.9million tax bill looms large in 2023. 

Lineker has four sons with his first wife, Michelle: Angus, 24, Tobias, 26, Harry, 28, and the eldest George, who is 30. He divorced from his second wife, Danielle Bux, six years ago. He said recently ‘I’ve been married twice. I’ve got four kids. That’s an expensive business’.

Lineker promotes his own range of sunglasses and glasses, which he handpicks, for High Street chain Vision Express

Lineker promotes his own range of sunglasses and glasses, which he handpicks, for High Street chain Vision Express

Apart from his high-profile presenting roles, he features in big-brand television advertising campaigns but also runs a TV production company – Goalhanger Films – which he uses to sell even more of his work to the BBC.

And it is Goalhanger’s burgeoning podcast business that is predicted to make him even richer. His first shows were recorded at the kitchen table of his £4.8million Victorian property in Barnes, south-west London. He is also believed to own a property in Surrey where he has hosted at least two refugees.

The Goalhanger stable also includes The Rest Is Politics, hosted by Alastair Campbell and Rory Stewart, and The Rest Is History, presented by Tom Holland and Dominic Sandbrook – the latter widely considered as one of the UK’s best podcasts. 

Gary’s son Harry works for his dad’s business, which has a growing list of hits including, you guessed it, Gary’s own Match of the Day: Top Ten show with Alan Shearer, Micah Richards, Ian Wright and others. Eldest son George is co-founder of Your Business Number, Angus is a business development manager and Tobias is a DJ. 

Last year Lineker hailed the ‘incredible growth’ of the podcast arm, which is now signed up with global entertainment agency WME, even admitting that he could leave the BBC to work on it full time.

He has three years left on his lucrative BBC deal – but with calls for him to be sacked over his tweets, it may not hit him that hard financially he moved on.

He told The New Statesman last year when asked if he might work on Goalhanger full time: ‘Maybe. Who knows? Life’s thrown many things at me. And I’m 61. We don’t really know what the boundaries are in terms of growth. But it’s a very, very good business’.

Gary Lineker and Michelle Cockayne, married at St Mary Magdalene's Church, Knighton, Leicester, July 1986

He later married Danielle Bux but they divorced in 2016

Gary Lineker married his first wife Michelle in 1986 but they later divorced. He later married Danielle Bux but they divorced in 2016

Gary with his four lookalike sons in 2013: Harry, Angus, George and Tobias (left to right)

Gary with his four lookalike sons in 2013: Harry, Angus, George and Tobias (left to right)

Mr Lineker is currently appealing in the courts after HMRC pursued him for £4.9million under IR35 legislation – rules designed to stop contractors working as ‘disguised employees’. 

The tax man believes that Lineker should be treated as an employee by the BBC because he does so much regular work for them, meaning the star should pay more to the treasury.

Mr Lineker disagrees. Last month a preliminary hearing in London was told Lineker has now paid the income tax bill in full but he is appealing.

HMRC pursued him for the sum that it claimed should have been paid on income received between 2013 and 2018. 

Lineker insists all taxes were paid on the income through a partnership set up in 2012 with his ex-wife Danielle Bux and is appealing against the demand.

The presenter is expected to argue that his partnership Gary Lineker Media (GLM) is required to funnel his income through because of the wide variety of work he does.

HMRC will claim his extensive work for BT Sport and the BBC means he should be classed as an employee for tax purposes, because he agrees to do a minimum number of games and shows for the broadcaster.

One of his first TV jobs away from football was as the face of Walkers crisps, and the Leicester-born star last year signed a new three-year deal with the firm – the snacks are made in his home city.

The deal sees him feature in television advert campaigns and on social media. He has been working with the brand for more than 27 years, first teaming up with Walkers in 1994, and has now appeared in 150 adverts.

Lineker is also an investor in an insurance company which aims to reduce premiums for drivers between the ages of 17 and 25.

Ticker sends a box to the driver which they then place on their windscreen. 

The gadget pairs to a phone via bluetooth, sending the driver’s behaviour on the road to the Ticker app, with the idea that the information can be used to provide cheaper insurance for safer young motorists.

Described as the future of car insurance, the company is also backed by former Formula 1 driver Mark Blundell.

Gary Lineker has been working with the brand for 27 years, first teaming up with Walkers in 1994, and has now appeared in 150 adverts

Gary Lineker has been working with the brand for 27 years, first teaming up with Walkers in 1994, and has now appeared in 150 adverts

In 2019, along with his friend and fellow broadcaster Danny Baker, Lineker published a book full of football anecdotes called Behind Closed Doors

In 2019, along with his friend and fellow broadcaster Danny Baker, Lineker published a book full of football anecdotes called Behind Closed Doors

He is also a director of ‘GCGL Properties Ltd’ – described on Companies House as a ‘development of building projects’ business. 

As part of Lineker’s £1.36 million deal with the Beeb, he presents Match Of The Day and other big sporting events. He is also one of the hosts of the Sports Personality of the Year event.

Few BBC viewers will know that some of the programmes Lineker hosts are not part of his deal with the broadcaster but shows he sells to them through his production company.

In 2020 he hosted and made Football, Prince William And Our Mental Health through Goalhanger Films.  He has made others for the Corporation with stars including Marcus Rashford and Wayne Rooney, and featuring his beloved Leicester City.

He also produces podcasts for the BBC. He recently announced a show he is making about tennis superstar Serena Williams, which he has sold to Amazon.

He made a reputed £3 million from investing in Ingenie, a car insurance firm which was sold in 2014

He made a reputed £3 million from investing in Ingenie, a car insurance firm which was sold in 2014

He also works works for LaLiga TV. Lineker quit one big-money deal at BT Sport for another – transferring to La Liga to present football matches from the top Spanish division, live from Barcelona.

Lineker still speaks Spanish after his time playing for the Catalan giants and he signed a multi-year contract with LaLigaTV. 

Speaking of the job, he said he was ‘thrilled’, adding: ‘I have fond memories of my time playing in Spain and very much look forward to sharing the excitement of La Liga with viewers in the UK and elsewhere.’

There are also books. 

In 2019, along with his friend and fellow broadcaster Danny Baker, Lineker published a book full of football anecdotes called Behind Closed Doors.

A bestseller, it was culled from a podcast the pair presented and reveals jaw-dropping stories from the dressing room and open-top bus ceremonies, apparently ‘all served up with lashings of wit and ribald humour.’

As one of television’s most prominent spectacle-wearers, it was only a matter of time before Lineker cashed in on them. 

He promotes his own range of sunglasses and glasses, which he handpicks, for high street chain Vision Express.

The firm says in the ‘edit’, Lineker ‘pays homage to the various fashion eras and styles which have influenced him throughout his life, specifically Italian and Mediterranean styles.’

And he’s hoping to score with the public in terms of pricing – Lineker spectacle frames cost from £99 and sunglasses are from £39.

Lineker is renowned for his snappy suits when presenting his TV shows, which was clearly noticed by upmarket shirt brand TM Lewin, who then signed him up to promote the label.

He appeared on its website where he advertised the budget range, starting at £25. 

He also used to encourage his millions of social media followers to shop at TM Lewin stores before the business went online only. 

In 2021 it was announced that Lineker would be straddling the BBC and ITV after being lured by the latter to host a new gameshow, named Sitting On A Fortune. 

In the show contestants can win up to £100,000 and it seems the presenter has hit the jackpot too. 

It’s not known how much he is being paid but TV insiders suggest ‘he won’t be doing it for peanuts’.

Lineker said: ‘I am delighted to be hosting what I think and hope will be a show that people love, full of tension with high stakes and bags of drama from start to finish – everything a great game show should be.’

A second series is billed to return in 2023.

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