Gary Lineker has once again found himself in hot water for his controversial political interventions – this time calling for Israel to be banned from international football
The Match of the Day presenter shared a post on X by a pro-Palestinian account which called on international sporting bodies to bar Israel from games and tournaments over its military campaign against Hamas.
Tory MPs have demanded the BBC sanction the 63-year-old, who frequently causes controversy for what critics see as flagrant breaches of the BBC’s impartiality rules.
Covering everything from migration policy and Brexit to conflict in the Middle East, his comments have prompted repeated calls for him to be sacked from his licence fee payer funded post, which nets him a £1.36million salary.
Below is a round-up of the world according to Lineker.
Gary Lineker frequently causes controversy for what critics see as flagrant breaches of the BBC’s impartiality rules
January 2, 2024
Lineker reposts a statement on X from a pro-Palestinian campaign calling for Israel to be removed from all global tournaments ‘until it ends its grave violations of international law’ in relation to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.
That same day, BBC Sport shares a tweet poking fun at Wayne Rooney after he was dismissed as manager of Birmingham City after nine defeats from 15 games in charge.
Lineker replies to the post saying ‘delete this’ – leading other users to point out the irony of him criticising other users for tone-deaf tweeting.
December 11, 2023
Defence Secretary Grant Shapps tells ITV that Lineker should ‘stick to football’.
He responds: ‘A tad rich coming from someone who can’t even stick to one name. 4 chaps Shapps.’
Mr Shapps’ use of various alter egos has previously attracted media commentary.
Lineker also hits back at Tory chairman ’30p Lee’ Anderson who had said the British people wanted to ‘stop the boats and tell overpaid crisp salesmen to put a sock in it’.
‘I guess we’ll find out what the will of the British people is at the next general election. If you do end up out of work, I’ll put in a word for you with @walkers_crisps,’ the Match of the Day presenter writes.
March 7, 2023
The Match of the Day host shares a video of Suella Braverman announcing details of her new Illegal Migration Bill with the comment, ‘Good heavens, this is beyond awful’.
He tweets that the measures are ‘immeasurably cruel’.
When another user accuses him of being ‘out of order’, the former England footballer responds: ‘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?’
February 28, 2023
Commenting on a speech from Rishi Sunak about Northern Ireland having access to the Single Market, he writes: ‘This is sensational. Not a hint of irony. Quite brilliant.’
February 27, 2023
Lineker mocks Rishi Sunak’s landmark EU deal over Northern Ireland, writing: ‘So we’re getting Brexit done… again.’
February 23, 2023
Environment Secretary Therese Coffey raises eyebrows when she urged Brits who were struggling to buy tomatoes to ‘cherish the humble turnip’.
Lineker compares her comments to former PM Liz Truss famously being compared to a lettuce.
February 22, 2023
Shamima Begum loses a challenge against the decision to revoke her British citizenship, with judges ruling the Home Secretary had acted lawfully to protect national security.
Lineker is not happy, tweeting that Begum – who fled London aged 15 – had been ‘groomed’.
He writes: ‘She was a child. Manipulated and groomed. This feels very wrong.’
February 20, 2023
Lineker shares a video that calls for illegal immigrants arriving on small boats to be granted citizenship.
He wrote: ‘Why leave them to fester in a hotel with the far-Right screaming abuse at them? Give them legal status and get them going.’
February 15, 2023
Lineker posts from an airport arrivals queue: ‘Another monster queue at customs at a European city next to deserted lanes for EU members. The delights of Brexit.’
Meanwhile, a decision by Formula 1 to ban drivers from making political statements attracted the ire of Lewis Hamilton.
This prompts Lineker to voice his support for the British driver.
He writes: ‘Well played Lewis Hamilton. No point having a huge platform if you don’t use it for good. Free speech and all…’
That same day he had joked about ‘the delights of Brexit’ while waiting in an airport queue.
January 14, 2023
The former England captain retweets a post calling Home Secretary Suella Braverman ‘utterly devoid of sensibility’ after her exchange with a Holocaust survivor.
January 11, 2023
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.
Lineker has repeatedly come under fire for his political views, which critics say breach BBC impartiality rules
Lineker breached BBC impartiality rules with a social media post criticising the Tories, the broadcaster’s complaints team rules.
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.
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?’.
BBC boss Tim Davie says reining in Lineker’s tweeting was a ‘work in progress’.
BBC boss Tim Davie has said reining in Lineker was a ‘work in progress’
Lineker sparks a row with a senior BBC journalist with a tweet about sewage.
He writes 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 prompts veteran BBC journalist Neil Henderson, a home and foreign news editor, to ask the presenter if his contract allows him to breach the corporation’s impartiality rules.
The journalist writes 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.
Lineker was embroiled in a row with a senior BBC journalist following his tweet about sewage (pictured)
The Match of the Day host and former England captain has been vocal about his political views, having criticised the Conservatives’ handling of Brexit and the migrant crisis
One person demanded Lineker quit after his comments in 2016 about his remarks over the refugee crisis. When someone said ‘you deserve it, hope you lose your job’, Lineker retweeted and defiantly said: ‘I won’t.’
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 tweets: ‘History will look back very favourably on these people’.
But Brundle replies: ‘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.’
Lineker appeared to show his support for Just Stop Oil protesters in July 2022 following their demonstration at Silverstone Grand Prix, which saw some activists storming the track
The former England striker is slammed over his stance on child refugees after a number were accused of looking older than 18.
File image of a refugee lighting a fire to keep warm in Dunkirk, France, in November 2021
Lineker writes: ‘The treatment by some towards these young refugees is hideously racist.’
The former footballer is blasted for his take, with critics at the time accusing him of breaching BBC impartiality guidelines, which state ‘external activities’ must not impact the public perception of the broadcasting giant’s impartiality.
Following the backlash, Mr Lineker tweets: ‘Getting a bit of a spanking today, but things could be worse – imagine, just for a second, being a refugee having to flee from your home.’
When someone replied saying they hoped he would lose his job because he ‘deserved it’, Lineker hit back, saying: ‘I won’t’.