BBC commentator explains 'difficult decision' to work during boycott over Gary Lineker's MOTD axing | The Sun

A BBC commentator has revealed why he opted to work during the Gary Lineker row.

Alistair Bruce-Ball led the BBC's broadcast for Arsenal's 3-0 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage on Sunday.

It came 24 hours after most of the organisation's commentators boycotted their roles in a show of support for Lineker.

The former England striker, 62, was absent from hosting Match of the Day after he criticised the government's new Illegal Migration Bill and questioned their language around refugees.

A host of pundits also refused to appear on Match of the Day, before the BBC announced Saturday's programme would go ahead as a reduced 20-minute broadcast without presenters or pundits.

Football Focus and Final Score were also scrapped.


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Several BBC commentators then returned to their jobs on Sunday, but Bruce-Ball still felt he needed to give an explanation for his decision.

He said: "I want to reiterate what we said ahead of our football coverage yesterday.

"I know you’ll all appreciate this is a difficult time for BBC Sport and for all those who work in the department and we hope it all gets resolved as soon as possible.

"It’s been a very difficult decision to make personally, I can assure you it’s not been taken lightly, but I’m a BBC staff member, I’m a radio commentator for this station and just like yesterday we are here to provide our football service to you, our audience."

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Along with Bruce-Ball, Ian Dennis and John Murray also carried out their commentary duties for the BBC over the weekend.

And pundit Pat Nevin was another BBC employee who defended his decision to work.

Meanwhile, Lineker is set to return to the BBC for this weekend's FA Cup coverage.

And a decision regarding his future as host of Match of the Day is set to be announced on Monday.

George Lineker, the son of the World Cup golden boot winner, has insisted he expects his dad to return to the BBC show.

Speaking on Saturday after attending Leicester's defeat to Chelsea with his father, he told The Mirror: "He's been at Leicester today and he got a really good reaction – there were banners in support of him in the stadium.

"When he comes home from the Leicester game my brother is cooking him a cottage pie. Then he'll probably go to bed and maybe watch the show in the morning, before we go for a Sunday roast.

"Dad is a good man, a good human, and I'm proud of him for standing by his word. That's why he was pulled off the show – because he wouldn't apologise.

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"But he will always speak up for people who don't have a voice. He is passionate about helping refugee charities.

"Will he go back to Match of the Day? I think so – he loves Match of the Day. But he won't ever back down on his word."

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