'I’ve been silenced' - Gary Lineker confirms he will not host Match of the Day tonight
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Gary Lineker has confirmed in a statement that he will not host Saturday night's episode of Match of the Day, with his replacement already lined up by the BBC.
The 63-year-old, who has presented the popular highlights show for more than two decades, says he has been "silenced" with a so-called "rotten cold that seems to lasting forever."
Taking to X, formerly Twitter, on Saturday afternoon, he confirmed the news.
"Some good news for some," he wrote. "I’ve been silenced….with a rotten cold that seems to be lasting forever. Hate missing hosting @BBCMOTD but I’ll be watching."
Lineker's replacement will be Match of the Day 2 host Mark Chapman, who will raise discussion points from seven Premier League games, including Manchester City vs Everton and Liverpool vs Burnley.
Match of the Day, of course, has been a staple of English football culture since it first broadcast on the BBC in 1964.
And one of its most popular pundits has been former Arsenal and England striker Ian Wright, who will be leaving Match of the Day at the end of the 2023/24 season.
Back in December, Wright announced he would be stepping back from the flagship BBC show in May, having first appeared on it while still a player in 1997.
When discussing the reason behind his sudden departure, Wright said: "I'm going to actually watch more football.
"I'm going to watch my granddaughter. I'm going to watch a lot more women's games. I'm going to watch a lot more Arsenal games, just to be there with fans.
"Go with my son and his missus, be amongst it, just to celebrate when we win or lose."
Wright added: "It's been a bit of a realisation that I want to give quality time to them. So that's what I want. To watch games, spend time with people."
Lineker, meanwhile, is set to continue hosting the programme until 2029 after it was confirmed that Premier League highlights will remain free-to-air for audiences on the BBC.
A four-year deal was agreed, which includes MOTD2 and Football Focus plus a 'significant increase' in the amount of digital content that can be used across BBC Sport platforms.