“I have been presenting sport on the BBC for almost three decades and am immeasurably proud to work with the best and fairest broadcaster in the world,” Lineker said, before returning to the topic of immigration.
“A final thought: 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.”
The publicly funded BBC had suspended Lineker for breaching its impartiality rules by comparing the rhetoric of Britain’s interior minister Suella Braverman to the language used in 1930s Germany.
Last year Braverman had faced a backlash for her own use of language when she called the arrival in southern England of thousands of asylum seekers on small boats an “invasion”.
Lineker, the former England soccer captain who presents the country’s flagship football highlights programme, has previously hosted refugees in his home and co-founded a podcast production company whose shows include the popular The Rest is Politics.
Tim Davie became BBC director general in 2020 with a pledge to uphold the corporation’s impartiality in the face of increasingly furious rows in Britain over a range of cultural issues.
He said on Monday that the suspension of Lineker had been appropriate and that the presenter – who has hosted the main BBC soccer highlights and analysis show Match of the Day since 1999 – had agreed to stick to current editorial guidelines until a new policy is formed.
Lineker threw his weight behind Davie on Monday, saying that he had “an almost impossible job keeping everybody happy, particularly in the area of impartiality”.