Renowned former England striker Gary Lineker has disclosed the remaining duration of his Match of the Day contract in a comprehensive interview with GQ. Having hosted the BBC show since 1999 and consistently drawing four million viewers, Lineker’s future on the iconic program has been a subject of curiosity.
In the interview, Lineker addressed various topics, including his involvement in the BBC impartiality row sparked by a tweet in March. In the tweet, he likened the government’s language on small boat arrivals to that of ‘Germany in the 1930s’ towards Jewish people, igniting controversy and discussions on impartiality.
The outspoken presenter mentioned that he has two years left on his current contract, with the future dependent on the BBC’s ability to secure rights for showing Premier League highlights. Lineker acknowledged the strategic importance of maintaining a show on terrestrial television, given that a significant portion of the public does not have access to subscription-based services like Sky or BT.
Reflecting on the impartiality row, Lineker shared insights into the aftermath of his tweet. The BBC temporarily took him off air due to impartiality rules, leading to a unique episode of Match of the Day without presenting or commentary— a first in the show’s history. Lineker was eventually reinstated, and the incident prompted the introduction of new rules allowing high-profile presenters to express views on issues and politics while avoiding political campaigning.
Lineker expressed satisfaction with the outcome, despite the intrusive press attention that followed. He shared, “The only irritating thing was that [journalists] stood outside my house from seven in the morning till 11 at night.” Lineker credited his changing perspective on social issues to life experiences, particularly his eldest son’s health struggles during infancy.
At 62, Lineker continues to advocate for the acknowledgment of the intersection between sports and politics, despite differing opinions on the matter. He emphasized the arbitrary nature of criticisms, stating, “It’s an absurdity, and the only time people ever say it is if they disagree with what you’re talking about. Everyone’s absolutely happy with you having all sorts of opinions, if they agree with them. Politics seeps into everything.”
As Lineker navigates the final years of his Match of the Day contract, his blend of sports analysis and candid commentary continues to make headlines both on and off the pitch.