People Question Why BBC Chairman Kept His Job As Gary Lineker 'Steps Back'

Richard Sharp, a Tory donor, helped to secure an £800,000 loan guarantee for Boris Johnson. The Match of the Day presenter tweeted.
Boris Johnson, Gary Lineker and Richard Sharp.
Boris Johnson, Gary Lineker and Richard Sharp.

People are questioning Gary Lineker’s removal from Match of the Day by pointing to the BBC’s chairman keeping his job despite helping to secure a £800,000 loan guarantee for Boris Johnson.

On Friday, the BBC said the former footballer would “step back” from fronting the show until there is “an agreed and clear position on his use of social media”.

It was later confirmed Saturday’s Match of the Day is to go ahead without presenters and pundits after several big names pulled out of the show.

The row was sparked by his response on Twitter to a Home Office video in which home secretary Suella Braverman unveiled the government’s plans to stop migrants crossing the Channel on small boats.

The ex-England striker tweeted: “There is no huge influx. We take far fewer refugees than other major European countries.

“This is just an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the ’30s.”

On social media, many were questioning the broadcaster’s approach to impartiality by invoking the corporation’s chairman Richard Sharp, who has been involved in a cronyism row over him helping the former PM secure an £800,000 loan facility.

Former BBC correspondent Jon Sopel tweeted: “Lucky there are no producer guidelines on whether you need to declare facilitating an £800k loan to a prime minister while applying for a job as chairman of a broadcasting organisation…”

Others were of a similar mind ...

What is the loan story about?

The Sunday Times first reported that Canadian education entrepreneur Sam Blyth had agreed to act as guarantor of a £800,000 line of credit for Johnson while he was still prime minister.

A follow-up story in Sunday Times revealed that Richard Sharp helped to secure the arrangement just weeks before he became chairman of the BBC.

The paper reported that Sharp, who has also donated £400,000 to the Conservatives in the past, met with Simon Case, the cabinet secretary, to discuss the loan arrangement.

Sharp also had dinner at Chequers with Blyth and Johnson before the loan was agreed, but all three men deny that the then PM’s financial affairs were discussed.

In an email to BBC staff, Sharp said his role was merely to “seek an introduction” for Blyth “to the relevant official in government”.

However, acknowledging the affair is a “distraction” for the BBC, and said he was referring his appointment as chairman to the corporation’s nominations committee.

Here’s how others were reacting to the Lineker news ...


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