Match of the Day faces a blackout for players and managers, as well as pundits, commentators and presenters, as the row from Gary Lineker’s story continues.
A number of Premier League clubs have significant concerns about allowing their employers to talk to the programme. Lineker was taken off the air in a position “changed within minutes” after the former England striker refused to agree to terms with the BBC’s hierarchy over his tweet about the government’s immigration policy.
The main reason for the potential boycott is that of Solidarity, which forced the high-profile show of football to go ahead without debate or introduction on Saturday, but it is another component of this aberration into politics.
Many players wanting to show unity with former professionals such as Lineker, Ian Wright and Alan Shearer have approached the Professional Footballers’ Association about the possibilities.
Fines can be issued for failure to fulfill broadcasting duties, but the PFA is understood to support any such position by its members.
At a minor level, there was also concern within some clubs as to whether the appearance of their coaches and players in Match of the Day would constitute almost a “political act”.
Match of the Day commentators joined the strike late Friday night, which could leave the country’s flagship program with no descriptions, analysis or interviews.
“It would not be appropriate to participate in the programme,” said a joint statement from the group, which includes regular commentators such as Steve Wilson and Connor McNamara.
It added to the mutiny that followed the BBC’s decision to pull Lineker from his presenting duties after the former England international’s criticism of the government’s new asylum policy was ruled a breach of neutrality guidelines.
Wright and Shearer announced that they would not appear on Match of the Day as planned in solidarity, while Micah Richards, Jermaine Jenas, and Alex Scott ruled themselves out of appearing on the show.
It forced Match of the Day to take the unprecedented step of announcing that the program would “focus on making the match without the studio show or the newscast”.
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