Gary Lineker has been allowed back into the BBC after the Neutrality storm

(CNN) Gary Lineker He will resume his duties at the BBC’s flagship football programme, after a storm of neutrality over his criticism of government asylum policy plunged the BBC into scheduling chaos over the weekend.

in statement On Monday, the BBC’s director general, Tim Davie, said he understood it had been a “difficult period for the staff”, but was looking forward to reinstating Lineker.

He also announced that the review of the BBC’s social media guidance would be led by an independent expert, acknowledging that the current guidance had caused “potential confusion”.

“Gary is an important part of the BBC and I know what the BBC means to Gary and I look forward to him presenting our coverage next weekend,” the statement read.

Lineker, a former professional footballer who presented Match of the Day for nearly 25 years, was suspended by the BBC on Friday, following the controversy surrounding a tweet he wrote criticizing the British government’s new policy on asylum seekers.

Since the suspension was announced, the BBC has faced boycotts from pundits, broadcasters and even players of its flagship football programme, while other football programs – ‘Football Fox’ and ‘Final Score’ – have been forced off some broadcasts – to air over the weekend. week as a result of the uproar.

Lineker welcomed the news of his reinstatement on Twitter, saying it had been a “surreal few days”.

“I’m glad we made it this way,” he said chirp Monday.

“I would like to thank you all for the amazing support, and in particular my colleagues at BBC Sport, for a fantastic show of solidarity. Football is a team game but their support has been overwhelming.”

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How did it start?

On 7 March, Lineker tweeted “Oh my God this is far from awful” in a video posted to Twitter by the UK Home Office announcing the new proposed policy – an attempt to stop migrant boats crossing the English Channel from France, which has been criticized by nations the United Nations and other international bodies.

He added, “There is no massive influx of refugees. We take in far fewer refugees than other major European countries. This is just an immeasurably harsh policy targeting the most vulnerable people with language not unlike that used by Germany in the 1930s, and am I out of service?”

On Friday, the BBC announced that Lineker would “retract from presenting Match of the Day until we have reached an agreed and clear position on his use of social media”, adding that it considered his recent social media activity to be a breach of its guidelines.

As a British public broadcaster, the BBC is bound by “due impartiality” – a much-discussed term which the organization defines as “having the power to hold accountable consistently” while not “allowing ourselves to be used in a campaign to change public policy”.

However, former BBC director general Greg Dyke said the broadcaster had “undermined its credibility” by suspending Linker’s service because it appeared to “bow to government pressure”.

The decision was also criticized by BBC staff, footballers, Premier League directors and politicians – leading to a boycott that wreaked havoc on the network’s schedule.

“Impartiality is important to the BBC. It is also important to the public,” Davey added in a statement on Monday.

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“The BBC is impartial in its charter and commitment to freedom of expression. This is a difficult balancing act as people are under different contracts and in air locations, and with different audiences and profiles on social media.

“The BBC’s social media guidelines are designed to help manage these sometimes difficult challenges and I recognize there is a need to ensure that guidance is up to the task. It needs to be clear, proportionate and appropriate.”

While thanking Davey for his “understanding during this difficult time,” Lineker tweeted, “However difficult the last few days have been, it simply doesn’t compare to having to flee your home from persecution or war to seek sanctuary in a faraway land.”

He added, “It is gratifying to see the sympathy for their plight on the part of so many of you.”

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