Talks between the BBC and Gary Lineker are said to be going well as talks continue about a return to its normal sports broadcasting coverage.
The corporation’s TV and radio shows were plunged into chaos over the weekend following the decision to take the former England striker off air for his comments likening the government’s migration policy with 1930s Germany.
But BBC news says there are “hopes of a resolution soon, but not all issues are ‘fully resolved’ at this stage”.
The Sun reports that Lineker will be back for the BBC’s FA Cup coverage next weekend and The Times quotes one source saying “The situation is looking far better than it did on Saturday.”
Pundits and commentators withdrew in solidarity with Lineker resulted in Match of the Day being aired for only 20 minutes on Saturday without accompanying commentary or analysis from presenters.
It attracted 500,000 more viewers, meanwhile, Sunday’s edition of Match of the Day 2 ran for a reduced 15 minutes.
Coverage of the Women’s Super League match between Chelsea and Manchester United also aired without a pre-match presentation, and with world feed commentary used instead of regular BBC presenters.
The BBC was forced into an embarrassing apology for only being able to offer ‘limited programming.’
Lineker believes that as a freelance sports presenter he is free to air his views on platforms outside the BBC, while the corporation’s director-general Tim Davie feels his message, sent earlier this week to his 8.8 million Twitter followers, breached guidelines.
Davie, though, apologised for the disruption caused to the broadcaster’s sports programming, but confirmed he will not resign over the Lineker impartiality row.
Speaking to BBC News Washington on Sunday he said: “I’m very sorry for the disruption today. It’s been a difficult day and I’m sorry that audiences have been affected and they haven’t got the programming.
“As a keen sports fan, I know like everyone that to miss programming is a real blow and I am sorry about that.
“We are working very hard to resolve the situation and make sure that we get output back on air.
“I would say Gary Lineker is a superb broadcaster. He’s the best in the business, that’s not for debate,” he added.
“To be clear, success for me is: Gary gets back on air and together we are giving to the audiences that world-class sports coverage which, as I say, I’m sorry we haven’t been able to deliver today.”
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