More than half of the British public think the BBC was wrong to suspend Gary Lineker, according to a new poll.
The corporation on Saturday night aired a stripped back, 20-minute episode of Match of the Day without a host, pundits or commentators after BBC staff earlier in the day boycotted virtually all of the broadcaster's sports programming.
On Saturday the BBC’s director-general refused to resign over the row as he hinted at a climbdown following the decision to suspend Lineker for posting political tweets.
A new YouGov snap poll on Saturday night revealed a majority (53 per cent) of the British public think the BBC was wrong to force Lineker to step down following his comments on social media about the government’s asylum policy.
The data finds that just over a quarter (27 per cent) think the broadcaster was right to suspend him and a fifth (20 per cent) don’t know.
Labour (75 per cent) and Liberal Democrat (73 per cent) voters are most likely to think the BBC made the wrong decision compared to just over a third (36 per cent) of Conservatives. In comparison, half (51 per cent) of Tory voters believe the broadcaster made the right decision along with 10 per cent of Labour voters and 14 per cent of Liberal Democrats.
‘We're sorry that we're unable to show our normal Match of the Day’
Ahead of Match of the Day being broadcast on the BBC, a message was given to apologise for the change to the football highlights show.
The programme was limited to 20 minutes and did not include accompanying commentary or analysis after fellow pundits including former England internationals Alan Shearer and Ian Wright pulled out of presenting in solidarity with Gary Lineker.
The former England footballer was told to step back from hosting the show after he compared the language used to launch a new Government asylum seeker policy with 1930s Germany in a tweet.
Ahead of the show starting, a continuity announcer said: "Now on BBC One, we're sorry that we're unable to show our normal Match of the Day including commentary tonight.
"But here now is the best action from today's Premier League matches".
Match of the Day was rebranded as "Premier League Highlights" during its broadcast on Saturday evening.
The programmed aired without presenters, pundits, or even its famous theme tune - instead broadcasting only short highlight clips of the day's matches.
Between each clip, a graphic appeared displaying which teams were playing.
While the usual match commentary was replaced with the sound of the crowd inside each stadium.