Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. The Staggers
15 March 2023

Gary Lineker’s “special agreement” with Tim Davie 

Agent Jon Holmes reveals in the New Statesman that the presenter understood he could tweet freely about refugees and immigration.

By The Chatterer

Gary Lineker’s long-standing agent and friend, Jon Holmes, has shed new light on what went on behind the scenes between the Match of the Day host and BBC bosses over the weekend.

In a diary for this week’s New Statesman, Holmes revealed that Lineker felt he had a “special agreement” in place with Tim Davie, the BBC’s director-general, that allowed him to tweet about refugees and immigration, an area of “passionate interest” for the former England footballer.

Apparently, at least as of last Friday, 10 March, Davie didn’t see things this way. Holmes revealed that, as Lineker’s representative, he was summoned to a meeting at Broadcasting House in London at 2.30pm that day. “We didn’t achieve much,” he wrote, “but when they asked me how the matter could be resolved, I told them taking Gary off air would not be helpful and we needed to clarify the guidelines.”

Again, Davie apparently didn’t agree. Shortly after this meeting, the BBC announced Lineker would be suspended from presenting Match of the Day until an agreement on his social media use could be found. As chaos ensued at the BBC – presenters on strike, programmes cancelled – Lineker and Holmes went to see their beloved Leicester City lose 3-1 to Chelsea.

The following day, Holmes held a series of online meetings with BBC bosses. After Davie returned from a trip to the US, Holmes said, an agreement was reached at around 4pm on Sunday (12 March). This time, Davie was finally in agreement with Holmes: Lineker would be reinstated and the BBC’s social media guidelines would be reviewed. 

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

On Monday, after Davie publicly reinstated the Match of the Day presenter, it seemed the “special agreement” might be back on. Lineker tweeted that “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 refuge in a land far away”.

Just in case Lineker’s position wasn’t clear enough, he has also set himself a new Twitter profile picture with a not-so-subtle message to the BBC’s top brass. The photo shows Lineker alongside a quote displayed next to George Orwell’s statue outside Broadcasting House. The Orwell quote? “If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

Lineker one, BBC nil.

[See also: Gary Lineker played into the hands of the BBC’s right-wing enemies]

Content from our partners
What you need to know about private markets
Work isn't working: how to boost the nation's health and happiness
The dementia crisis: a call for action

Topics in this article : , ,