According to his agent, Gary Lineker had a “special arrangement” with the BBC that allowed him to speak out about the migrant crisis.
Lineker made headlines last week after posting a series of tweets criticising the government’s illegal migration policy and comparing it to 1930s Germany.
Concerns were raised about his lack of impartiality, despite working for the BBC, which upholds impartiality as one of its core values.
However, the former England footballer’s agent, Jon Holmes, claims that the Director-General Tim Davie and Lineker had an agreement that allowed him to make public statements on specific topics.
Holmes described the impartiality debate as a “shambles,” and said his phone began ringing “excessively” after Lineker’s tweet.
“My phone started ringing excessively on the afternoon of Tuesday March 7 after Suella Braverman had made her statement on the government’s small boats policy in the Commons,” said Holmes, writing in The New Statesman.
“Gary Lineker, with whom I’ve worked since 1980, had tweeted about the policy, reiterating his support for refugees.
“Gary takes a passionate interest in refugees and immigration and, as he saw it, had a special agreement with Tim Davie, the BBC’s director-general, to tweet about these issues.”
Reflecting on the events that followed, he stated that he was “summoned” to the BBC and that efforts were made to defuse the crisis caused by his client.
He urged the BBC not to take Lineker off air and insisted the rules surrounding the requirements for freelance presenters to remain impartial, and the guidelines surrounding the topic were “a bit vague”.
He revealed that the former footballer had been asked several times to appear on BBC political programmes but had always declined.