Gary Lineker will return to Match of the Day after the BBC apologised for a row which saw the Premier League highlights programme broadcast without punditry or commentary on Saturday night.

The former England international was asked to step back from the programme after a row about his use of social media.

Mr Lineker, who is a freelancer and not employed by the BBC, compared the Conservative government's rhetoric around asylum seekers to that used in Germany in the 1930s about Jewish people.

Following the presenter being stood down, regular pundits Ian Wright and Alan Shearer announced they would not feature on the programme in solidarity.

Commentators followed and the PFA, the footballer's union, asked players not to conduct post-match interviews with the BBC.

That meant Match of the Day was condensed into a 20 minute package featuring only the highlights from the day's Premier League games, with no commentary, punditry or interviews.

READ MORE: Politicians would envy the support Gary Lineker has attracted

On Monday the BBC announced that Mr Lineker would be returning to the programme, as BBC director general Tim Davie issued an apology and pledged to review social media guidelines.

The Herald: A Manchester City fan holds up a sign in support of Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker ahead of the Premier League match at Selhurst Park, London. Picture date: Saturday March 11, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Palace. Photo credit should read:

In a statement Mr Davie said: "Everyone recognises this has been a difficult period for staff, contributors, presenters and, most importantly, our audiences. I apologise for this. The potential confusion caused by the grey areas of the BBC’s social media guidance that was introduced in 2020 is recognised. I want to get matters resolved and our sport content back on air.

“Impartiality is important to the BBC. It is also important to the public. The BBC has a commitment to impartiality in its Charter and a commitment to freedom of expression. That is a difficult balancing act to get right where people are subject to different contracts and on air positions, and with different audience and social media profiles. The BBC’s social media guidance is designed to help manage these sometimes difficult challenges and I am aware there is a need to ensure that the guidance is up to this task. It should be clear, proportionate, and appropriate.

“Accordingly, we are announcing a review led by an independent expert – reporting to the BBC – on its existing social media guidance, with a particular focus on how it applies to freelancers outside news and current affairs. The BBC and myself are aware that Gary is in favour of such a review.

“Shortly, the BBC will announce who will conduct that review. Whilst this work is undertaken, the BBC’s current social media guidance remains in place.

“Gary is a valued part of the BBC and I know how much the BBC means to Gary, and I look forward to him presenting our coverage this coming weekend.”

Mr Lineker wrote on Twitter: "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 heartwarming 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."