Gary Lineker's statement in full after being reinstated as Match of the Day presenter

Gary Lineker has hosted Match of the Day since 1999. Credit: PA

Match of the Day Host Gary Lineker became embroiled in a row over impartiality after he was taken off air by the BBC for criticising the government’s Illegal Immigration Bill.

Lineker was reinstated as a BBC presenter on Monday after the corporation apologised for a “difficult period for staff, contributors, presenters, and most importantly, our audiences”.

It came after a host of sports presenters and pundits pulled out of BBC shows over a turbulent weekend, expressing solidarity with the former England striker.

Here is Lineker's Twitter statement in full:

"After a surreal few days, I’m delighted that we have navigated a way through this. I want to thank you all for the incredible support, particularly my colleagues at BBC Sport, for the remarkable show of solidarity. Football is a team game but their backing was overwhelming.

"I have been presenting sport on the BBC for almost 3 decades and am immeasurably proud to work with the best and fairest broadcaster in the world. I cannot wait to get back in the MOTD chair on Saturday.

"A final thought: however difficult the last few days have been, it simply doesn’t compare to having to flee your home from persecution or war to seek refuge in a land far away. It’s heart-warming to have seen the empathy towards their plight from so many of you.

"We remain a country of predominantly tolerant, welcoming and generous people. Thank you."

"Also, I’d like to thank Tim Davie for his understanding during this difficult period. He has an almost impossible job keeping everybody happy, particularly in the area of impartiality. I am delighted that we’ll continue to fight the good fight, together," Lineker added in a separate tweet.

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