It comes after Lineker was found to have breached the BBC’s impartiality rules over a tweet he posted in February.
13 October 2022
Match Of The Day host Gary Lineker has criticised the Home Office’s treatment of a refugee who stayed in his home.
The 61-year-old former England striker revealed how he took in a 26-year-old man who was caught up in a military coup and escaped 18 months of imprisonment, only to endure “hell” in the UK’s asylum system.
The comments were published on the day he was found to have breached BBC impartiality rules over a comment he made about the Conservative Party having links to “Russian donors” earlier this year.
Lineker, one of the BBC’s highest paid presenters, previously offered his Surrey home to a refugee from Balochistan, and more recently the man from Turkey.
Speaking about his second guest, he told The Daily Mirror: “He’s a really smart kid and wants to be a rocket scientist, actually.
“He was with us about a month and was such a sweet kid and has now gone to university.”
On the refugee’s escape from Turkey, Lineker said: “He got out, and then he spent 18 months in our Home Office system where he was treated like s***. He said it was hell.”
The Leicester-born presenter was admonished for sharing an article on Twitter about then-foreign secretary Liz Truss urging Premier League teams to boycott the Champions League final in Russia, adding: “And her party will hand back their donations from Russian donors?”
The BBC said it received a complaint over whether the comment was consistent with its impartiality rules, which it said as “one of the BBC’s highest profile stars” Lineker is expected to follow.
Lineker, a prolific user of Twitter with more than 8.5 million followers, pointed out that his post was prompted by an article on football, and it was intended as a comment on the sport rather than on politics.
But the BBC’s Executive Complaints Unit (ECU) judged that “one of the purposes” of his tweet was “to highlight a perceived inconsistency in the Conservative Party’s approach at a time when relations between the UK and Russia were the subject of significant public debate”.
“For this reason, we found the tweet was in breach of the relevant Guidance and did not meet the BBC’s editorial standards on impartiality,” it said.
The corporation said he declined to comment on the decision.
But Lineker told the Mirror he would continue to speak out about issues, including gay rights in the build up to the World Cup in Qatar, where homosexuality is a crime.
He said he knows two Premier League stars who have been “very close” to revealing their sexuality, adding: “It would be great if one or two of them came out during the World Cup. It would be amazing.”