Gary Lineker has announced he won’t be hosting this week’s Match of the Day after being struck by a “rotten cold” ahead of Saturday’s show on BBC One. The Beeb presenter’s replacement has been revealed, with seven Premier League games on the agenda, including those featuring title rivals Manchester City and Liverpool.
Lineker has been the face of Match of the Day for over 20 years and is a significant component of the BBC‘s flagship highlights programme.
However, the 63-year-old won’t be on TV screens on Saturday night because of illness, which is claimed to have “silenced” him.
Earlier on Saturday, Lineker reluctantly confirmed his impending absence on X (formerly Twitter) and couldn’t help but include a joke about the crowds in which he’s more of a polarising figure.
He wrote: “Some good news for some: I’ve been silenced….with a rotten cold that seems to be lasting forever. Hate missing hosting @BBCMOTD but I’ll be watching.”
Mark Chapman, the host of Match of the Day 2 on Sunday nights, will sit in for Lineker, likely alongside usual pundits Alan Shearer and Ian Wright.
MOTD airs at 10.30pm, with seven games from matchday 24 being analysed, including Manchester City’s 2-0 win against Everton.
Liverpool host Burnley at Anfield while Tottenham Hotspur and Brighton and Hove Albion meet in a mouthwatering clash in north London.
Wolves vs Brentford, Fulham vs AFC Bournemouth, and a crucial relegation six-pointer between Luton Town and Sheffield United also kick-off at 3pm.
Nottingham Forest host Newcastle United at the City Ground in the 5.30pm fixture, which will finish a few hours before MOTD gets underway at MediaCity UK in Salford.
He has two years left on his current BBC contract and is one of the corporation’s highest-paid personalities, pocketing £1.3million last year.
Lineker’s long-term future is up in the air, uncertainty that was intensified by his brief spell off the air last year after breaching impartiality guidelines.
In 2019, he walked away from his role hosting BT Sport’s (now TNT Sport) Champions League coverage in favour of spending more time with his family.
Earlier this season, long-time MOTD partner Ian Wright announced his decision to leave the programme at the end of 2023/24.
Lineker helms a vastly successful podcasting company away from his BBC commitments, which he could decide to entirely focus on once his deal expires.