Gary Lineker ‘jokes’ that his time at Match of the Day is ‘nearly up’ after star’s brief spell off-air amid furore over his Nazi tweet jibe
- Former England footballer, 62, said he is ‘ancient’ and could soon be replaced
- Lineker said Jermaine Jenas is ‘drifting’ towards becoming Match of the Day host
Gary Lineker joked that his time presenting Match of the Day is ‘nearly up’ after his spell off-air due to his tweet comparing government rhetoric about migrants to the Nazis.
The former England footballer, 62, said he is ‘ancient’ and could soon be replaced by Jermaine Jenas in the host’s chair for the Premier League highlights show.
Lineker was speaking with BBC colleagues Alan Shearer and Micah Richards for a Match of the Day: Top 10 podcast episode rating the best football pundits.
Discussing nominations, he said Jenas was ‘drifting’ towards becoming Match of the Day presenter instead of him.
Lineker said: ‘Obviously there are a lot of pundits who didn’t make the list we were given.
The former England footballer, 62, said he is ‘ancient’ and could soon be replaced by Jermaine Jenas
Lineker was speaking with BBC colleagues Alan Shearer and Micah Richards for a Match of the Day: Top 10 podcast episode rating the best football pundits
‘The likes of Andy Gray, Danny Murphy who is a brilliant analyst, Jermaine Jenas – who is probably drifting more towards my role. I think Jermaine is doing it really well as well, doing The One Show.’
When Richards asked if he was ‘nervous’ about losing his role, Lineker replied: ‘Nervous? I’m ancient. My time is nearly up.’
It comes weeks after Lineker was suspended from hosting the highlights programme after a tweet comparing the Government’s migrant crackdown to Nazi Germany.
The tweet sparked a weekend of mutinous chaos in which fellow pundits and presenters walked out in solidarity, before he was reinstated the following weekend.
Lineker had insisted that his status as a sports presenter who is employed by the BBC on a freelance basis meant he did not have to abide by the same impartiality rules as other staff.
But the dispute led to suggestions rival broadcasters may look to poach him, with insiders saying both Channel 4 and ITV are interested in securing the rights to Match of the Day from 2025-26, The Telegraph reports.
The BBC’s current package is understood to be worth £211.5million – covering three seasons until 2024-25.
But Lineker is wanted by BT Sport to become the face of their rebranded football coverage next season, with the presenter likely to be inundated with offers following his suspension.
Jermaine Jenas, who is mainly used either as a studio guest or as a pundit alongside a commentator by BBC Sport, but has demonstrated his presenting skills on The One Show
BT Sport will be relaunched as TNT Sports this summer after being taken over by Warner Brothers Discovery and the joint venture are in the market for presenting talent, with Lineker understood to be top of their shopping list.
The 62-year-old hosted BT Sports Champions League coverage for six years until 2021 and lives close to the new studios they are set to move to in west London.
TNT Sports will have two seasons of live Premier League rights and four more years of Champions League matches when they launch later this year, and are also in the market to buy EFL rights.
It comes after Lineker won a legal battle with HMRC after being accused of owing nearly £5million in unpaid tax on Tuesday.
He was told by the taxman he should have been classed as an employee of the BBC and BT Sport for his presenting duties, rather than as a freelancer, on Tuesday.
The tax authorities pursued him for £4.9million, claiming should have been paid on income received between 2013 and 2018.
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