Ian Wright branded ‘legend’ after Match of the Day snub for Lineker

Ian Wright has been lauded as a legend, hero and inspiration by football fans after he decided to snub this weekend’s Match of the Day in solidarity with colleague and close friend Gary Lineker. The 62-year-old host was pulled out of this Saturday’s programme due to an ongoing impartiality row over his use of social media, the BBC said via a statement on Friday afternoon.

Earlier this week, Lineker criticised the government’s new asylum policy, stating it had been conveyed in language “that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s.”

Lineker has refused to apologise for his tweet, indicating in the past few days that he is entitled to freedom of speech as the saga has continued to dominate the headlines.

But now the BBC have confirmed discussions are ongoing with Lineker over his social media conduct before revealing the former England international striker would no longer be presenting Match of the Day on Saturday in a development that has divided opinion.

As a result, Wright has now decided to break rank and confirmed via a small announcement on his Twitter account that he would no longer be taking part in Saturday’s programme that is produced at the BBC’s Manchester studios.

JUST IN: Gary Lineker has NOT agreed to step back from Match of the Day despite BBC statement

His post read: “Everybody knows what Match of the Day means to me, but I’ve told the BBC I won’t be doing it tomorrow. Solidarity.”

The Arsenal icon’s decision has proved popular in social media circles as football fans and other figures from within the media outlined their respect for Wright’s decision.

“Absolute legend,” wrote @Alexmitton10 while @CallumAltimas added: “Proud of you Wrighty for standing up for what you believe in!”

Twitter used @DeclanCarr96 replied: “Top class as usual Wrighty!” @GraemeBandeira also added: “Legend Wrighty.”

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Gary Neville, who has worked with Wright as a pundit for ITV, wrote of the former Gunners frontman: “I had no doubt Ian Wright would do that! Who the hell is going to go on now!”

The former England and Manchester United right-back also tweeted Wright directly to convey his admiration, writing with a love heart emoji: “You’re more than good!”

Sky News reporter Rob Harris has revealed there are rumblings of other figures not wanting to be involved in this weekend’s production of MOTD.

He tweeted: “Ian Wright’s announcement reflects what I have been hearing – a reluctance from others to be on MOTD after Lineker was taken off air by the BBC.”

Harris is also reporting that Lineker did not agree to step back from the show and in fact, the decision was taken out of his hands by his employers.

“Source close to Gary Lineker says he has not agreed to step back from MOTD – claiming the BBC has taken him off air,” he disclosed on Twitter.

“It’s understood Lineker is unwilling to apologise for his tweets and admit he should not have posted them. The BBC has been approached for comment.”

Earlier this week, Lineker had said that he was looking forward to presenting the show and that he felt as though the debacle had been blown out of proportion.

Lineker tweeted: “Well, it’s been an interesting couple of days. Happy that this ridiculously out of proportion story seems to be abating and very much looking forward to presenting @BBCMOTD on Saturday.”

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