Lineker is expected to meet with Director General Tim Davie to discuss tweet dispute

Lineker is expected to meet with Director General Tim Davie to discuss tweet dispute

The BBC is reportedly close to reaching a resolution with Gary Lineker after the former England captain was taken off air by the broadcaster on Friday for his comments on Twitter regarding the government’s anti-illegal immigration bill.

Lineker, the BBC’s highest-paid star on £1.35million a year, is expected to meet with Director General Tim Davie to discuss the dispute.

According to sources close to Lineker, they are ‘increasingly confident’ that the situation will be resolved ‘to his satisfaction’ within the next 24 hours.

The row has caused significant disruption to the BBC’s football coverage, with Match of the Day and Match of the Day 2 airing as short shows without presenters, pundits, commentators or its famous theme tune.

On-screen talent, including former England strikers Alan Shearer and Ian Wright, refused to appear in ‘solidarity’ with Lineker, and a pro-Lineker protest took place outside the BBC in Salford.

The BBC is expected to be forced into launching a review of its guidelines on impartiality for freelance presenters such as Lineker, as there are ambiguities in his contract, which could prevent the corporation from forcing him to follow its rules, prohibiting staff members from making political comments.

Senior officials believe they would be forced to pay millions if they were to sack Lineker, and are likely to lose any legal claim he could subsequently bring.

The resolution of the dispute could allow Lineker to return to present the FA Cup coverage this weekend.

However, the uncertainty over the show grew after main presenter Mark Chapman was absent from his BBC radio duties, and Jermain Defoe announced he had pulled out of appearing as a pundit on the highlights show.

Lineker may make some form of apology and is said to have agreed to be more careful about his tweets in the future, amid ‘a horrible review fudge’ of its social media guidelines.

Tim Davie’s own future could be in doubt after he has been criticised for his handling of the affair.

In a sign of a thaw in the dispute, a BBC spokesman said: ‘We are working hard on a resolution and hope to have him back with us as soon as possible.’

A source added that things are ‘moving quickly,’ and ‘Gary and his representatives have been in talks for a number of days and these are ongoing.’

Read More On The Topic On TDPel Media