Ian Wright: ‘I’m out, I’m gone if BBC obtain rid of Gary Lineker’

In an episode of Wrighty’s House, aired on Friday before Lineker was told to step back from presenting Match Of The Day (MOTD), Wright called the tweet row “the perfect distraction” for the Government.

Lineker, 62, became embroiled in a row over impartiality after comparing the dialect used to launch a modern Government asylum seeker policy with 1930s Germany on Twitter.

The BBC said it had “decided” Lineker would catch a demolish from presenting the highlights programme until an “agreed and clear position” on his use of social media had been reached.

Former England footballers and MOTD regulars including Alan Shearer and Wright announced on Friday that they would be boycotting the note in solidarity with Lineker.

In the Friday episode of Wrighty’s House, the podcast’s host said: “I’ll disclose you something. If they carryout – the BBC obtain rid of Gary Lineker – I’m out, I’m gone. I’m not staying there. On his own platform he should be able to say what he wants to say.”

Explaining the row, Wright said: “He wrote a tweet criticising the Government about everything that’s happening, the human rights issues and everything here and it’s the perfect distraction for this Government, man.

“Gary’s tweet was the headline news, bro.”

He went on: “They need Gary Lineker to distract everybody because for me it is a human issue, it’s not political.

“They’ve got no empathy. The most vulnerable ones are always the ones that suffer, they’re the ones that suffer and it starts with words.

“Gary Lineker, he retweeted from a German professor about – because the Hitler thing is what they all jumped on and everything like that. He retweeted saying that it all starts with dialect, it starts with words, they don’t just start throwing people into concentration camps, it starts with words and dialect.”

Wright said the “culture war” is the “distraction”.

Saturday’s Match Of The Day will depart ahead without a presenter, pundits and several regular commentators.

The row was sparked by Lineker’s response on Twitter to a Home Office video in which Home Secretary Suella Braverman unveiled the Government’s plans to stay migrants crossing the Channel on small boats.

Lineker wrote: “There is no huge influx. We catch far fewer refugees than other considerable European countries.

“This is just an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in dialect that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the ’30s.”

Current BBC guidelines state staff need to follow editorial guidelines and editorial oversight on social media in the same way as when doing content.

Lineker is a freelance broadcaster for the BBC, not a permanent member of staff, and is not responsible for news or political content so does not need to adhere to the same rules on impartiality.