After making his return to the helm of BBC’s flagship football coverage yesterday, Gary Lineker won’t be taking his place for today’s FA Cup coverage, as he’s set to be replaced by Alex Scott.
Lineker found himself at the centre of a row about free speech and BBC impartiality after he made comments on Twitter comparing Rishi Sunak’s government – particularly their Illegal Migration Bill – to ‘1930s Germany’.
However, after he stepped down – causing a chain reaction that also saw all other BBC football presenters, pundits, and commentators step down for last week – the corporation eventually climbed down and reinstated him.
He was back in the chair last night for the Beeb’s coverage of Manchester City vs Burnley in the FA Cup quarter finals, but it wasn’t what Lineker said on last night’s broadcast that caught everyone’s attention, it was how he said it.
Viewers were quick to remark that Lineker sounded croaky and a little bit under the weather, with many even commenting on Twitter that he should ‘have another week off’.
Another wrote: "It’s pretty ironic that Lineker is back on our televisions after getting into trouble for having his voice heard…and he’s losing his voice!
“He sounds rough as a badger’s nether regions, bless him!"
Well, he’s been given this afternoon off at least.
In a statement, the BBC confirmed that Lineker will be replaced by Alex Scott after his illness ‘deteriorated overnight’ and left him feeling too ill to work today.
When your voice is the main tool of your trade, it’s hard to do without it, so he’ll need to put his feet up and enjoy this afternoon’s match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Grimsby Town from the comfort of his own home.
A BBC statement read: “Due to illness, we've got a line-up change for today's live FA Cup coverage of Brighton v Grimsby on BBC One.
"As viewers will have noticed yesterday, Gary Lineker was struggling with his voice and unfortunately it has deteriorated overnight.
"Alex Scott will be hosting instead."
Upon Lineker’s return yesterday, his co-presenter Alan Shearer, who himself was absent from last week’s Match of the Day in solidarity with his colleague, used the beginning of the programme to apologise to viewers for the disruption last week.
The former England and Newcastle United star said: “I just need to clear up – I wanted to say how upset we were that all the audiences who missed out on last weekend.
“It was a really difficult situation for everyone concerned
“Through no fault of their own some people in TV and in radio were put in an impossible position and that wasn’t fair, so it’s good to get back to some sort of normality and be talking about football again.”
“I echo those sentiments” Lineker replied.