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Ex England defender Alex Scott has been confirmed as Sue Barker’s A Question Of Sport replacement after impressing bosses during previous appearances on the show.
Gary Lineker, 59, announced the news on Twitter on Thursday, but was accused of ‘race-baiting’ when he penned: ‘Congratulations and good luck to @AlexScott on being the new host for Question Of Sport.
‘Smart, knowledgeable and perfectly qualified for the role. Oh… and if you have a problem with Alex getting the job, you might just be part of the problem.’
The face that says she got the job! Ex England footballer Alex Scott was confirmed as Sue Barker’s replacement on A Question Of Sport on Thursday (pictured on Saturday)
Changes: Sue, 64, has been axed from the BBC show, alongside team captains Matt Dawson (left) and Phil Tufnell (right)
Former Strictly contestant Alex, 35, will replace Sue, 64, after she was axed as host after 24 years, alongside team captains Matt Dawson and Phil Tufnell.
Alex is of Irish and Jamaican descent and the wording of Gary’s tweet about her appointment seemed to ire the masses when he was accused of ‘race-baiting people for an argument’.
They wrote: ‘Lineker is real race baiter – seems he loves to stir things – I like Alex Scott – but Lineker should just get on with his other job as housing Officer ( to anyone but British) #DefundTheBBC.’
‘What a smug, arrogant man you are! What was the point of that last comment? no need! You’re just baiting people for an argument.
Congratulations and good luck: Gary Lineker was accused of ‘race-baiting’ after he confirmed the news on Twitter on Thursday and called out anyone who had a problem with the decision
‘If she’s the right person for the job then good for her, no need to bring colour into it. You’re part of the problem!’
‘Your last comment of your tweet is part of the problem stop starting a stupid debate!!’
Gary’s latest post comes days after he appeared to shrug off the new BBC director-general’s warning to staff to cut out political tweeting as it is revealed he will not be bound by the new impartiality rules.
The outspoken Match of the Day presenter suggested he was relaxed by Tim Davie’s anti-bias drive, which called upon staff to rein in their social media.
Tone deaf: Gary was accused of ‘baiting people for an argument’ with his latest post
He replied ‘nah’ in response to suggestions he should be ‘terrified’ of the clampdown.
As a freelance presenter Lineker has space to voice his opinions and has not been hamstrung by the BBC’s code of impartiality which restricts full-time employees.
A BBC spokesman said: ‘[Lineker] is not involved in any news or political output for the BBC and, as such, any expression of his personal political views does not affect the BBC’s impartiality.’
The Match Of The Day host has signed a new five-year contract with the broadcaster, with a 23% pay cut – from £1.75 million to around £1.35 million.
Meanwhile, a source claimed the decision to give Alex her new job had ‘nothing to do with gender, nor is it a case of the BBC trying to be woke’.
An insider told The Sun that Alex was ‘lined up’ as Sue’s replacement because she has lots of sporting knowledge and experience.
They said: ‘Like Sue, she’s a former sportswoman and she also has five years of broadcasting under her belt.
Confirmed: Alex’s star has risen all the more since she competed on Strictly in 2019
‘This has nothing to do with gender, nor is it a case of the BBC trying to be woke.
The source also explained how Alex had impressed BBC bosses when she appeared on the show in the past.
The BBC has failed to reach its 2020 target for Black, Asian and minority ethic (BAME) leaders, the broadcaster admitted on Tuesday.
In a briefing to outline their annual report, new director-general Tim Davie told journalists that the organisation needs to ‘do better on diversity’.
The BBC launched a report in 2018, which committed to a 15% BAME leadership target by 2020.
They pledged to appoint at least two BAME members on every senior leadership group by the end of 2020.
Alex has guest-starred on A Question Of Sport twice, with one occasion being aired in November 2016.
During the episode she appeared alongside Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell, England cricketer Mark Wood and Scottish rugby star Stuart Hogg.
During her athletic career, Alex has represented Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympics and was awarded an MBE in 2016 as well as scoring 12 goals for England.
After retiring from football in 2017 she went on to be the first female pundit on Sky Sport’s Super Sunday show.
Alex has plenty of presenting experience as she has also co-presented CBBC’s Match of the Day Kickabout and BBC One’s The Women’s Football Show.
On screen: Alex previously appeared on A Question Of Sport in 2016 alongside Scottish rugby star Stuart Hogg (pictured during the show)
Last year, she appeared on Strictly Come Dancing and was partnered with professional dancer Neil Jones.
It comes after Sue, who will stay on as the corporation’s face of Wimbledon, told of her sadness at having to leave the show after 24 years.
She said that the BBC had to remove her from A Question Of Sport as she would never have left her dream job voluntarily.
She told Sportsmail on Sunday: ‘I love the show so much they would have to remove me, it would have been tough for me to walk away.
‘I’ve absolutely loved my 24 years fronting A Question Of Sport, it’s been my dream job,’ she said.
‘But I understand the BBC want to take the show in a new direction and I’m sad to say goodbye.’
Career: Alex has previously played for England and Arsenal before becoming a successful TV presenter (pictured in 2017)
Family: Alex, pictured with her mother, Carol in March 2019, is of Irish and Jamaican descent
Barker will continue with presenting duties for the next two summers at Wimbledon, having signed a three-year deal last year.
Sportsmail understands she signed a new three-year contract last year to carry her through until at least 2022, something that will come as a relief to many viewers.
The decision to axe Miss Barker sparked fury from critics who accused the BBC of ageism, including former BBC radio and TV presenter Wendy Austin who tweeted: ‘No ageism/sexism in the BBC then…
Something to say: Shortly after the announcement, fans took to Twitter to express their views, which were a mixed bag
Ex-newsreader Jennie Bond told GMB: ‘Sue will be hurting this morning. You can’t do anything about your age and there is a pressure on television, particularly for women, to look younger.’
On Monday, sources disclosed to Sportsmail that Alex is well-liked by the broadcaster and in the mix to replace Barker as presenter.
Ex-Tottenham and England midfielder Jermaine Jenas was also said to be in the running to become one of the new team captains, with the BBC keen to diversify.
Shortly after the announcement, fans took to Twitter to express their views.
They wrote: ‘A tired old show – which has had multiple team captains and previous presenters – deciding to freshening things up is hardly earth shattering.’
‘I hope the ratings plummet! , which they will as hoards switch off the BBC. this is purely a decision taken to appease the racial slant. Sue Barker will always be the face of QoS.’
‘All the very best to Alex Scott. Always need to liven things up a bit. Alex always comes across very well.’
‘At times people are thrust into a position as a token gesture. But in the case of Alex Scott it’s thoroughly warrented. She’s one of the best right now.’
End of an era: It was revealed this week that Sue had been axed as host of the show after 24 years. She will still be continue with presenting duties for the next two summers at Wimbledon