PUNDITS Ian Wright and Alan Shearer have said they will not be appearing on Match of the Day on Saturday in “solidarity” with Gary Lineker.

It comes after the BBC said Lineker will “step back” from presenting Match of the Day until he and the broadcaster have reached an “agreed and clear position” on his use of social media.

But shortly after the statement was published, Sky News reported that Lineker had not agreed to "step back" - and was "unwilling to apologise".

Wright tweeted: "Everybody knows what Match of the Day means to me, but I’ve told the BBC I won’t be doing it tomorrow. Solidarity."

The National: Gary Lineker, pictured outside his London home yesterday, is embroiled in a row over his opposition to the Government’s Illegal Migration Bill

Later, Alan Shearer wrote: "I have informed the BBC that I won’t be appearing on MOTD tomorrow night."

Lineker has been embroiled in a row over impartiality after comparing the language used to launch a new Government asylum policy with 1930s Germany.

The row was sparked by his response on Twitter to a Home Office video in which Home Secretary Suella Braverman unveiled the Government’s plans to stop migrants crossing the Channel on small boats.

The ex-England striker wrote: “There is no huge influx. We take far fewer refugees than other major European countries.

“This is just an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the ’30s.”

The apparent decision to remove him from Match of the Day sparked anger among the media.

The Times's chief football writer Henry Winter wrote: "The @BBC are cowards. They’re letting down fans, losing a top presenter in @GaryLineker. Brings  insight/authority to their coverage in an era when the meek national broadcaster let licence-payers down with live rights. I don’t agree with all GL politics but I respect his values."

Meanwhile, Novara Media's Ash Sarkar said: "When Alan Sugar takes to Twitter to slag off Mick Lynch, that’s fine. But when Gary Lineker tweets critically of government policy, that’s a breach of impartiality. Are we all clear on the rules?"

Channel 4 News presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy said it is “hard to see Lineker coming back now” following the news.

The National: Krishnan Guru-Murthy

The journalist tweeted: “Presumably BBC will be asked to explain which of its guidelines were broken and why other regular presenters, contributors, comedians, actors who tweet political views are not in breach. Hard to see Lineker coming back now.”

And Alastair Campbell branded the BBC’s decision over Lineker’s remarks on Twitter “an act of political cowardice” that threatens democracy.

The former journalist and Labour spin doctor described the move to announce Lineker was stepping back from Match Of The Day as “pathetic” and “craven” during an appearance on BBC Radio 5 Live.

In a statement on Friday, the BBC said: “The BBC has been in extensive discussions with Gary and his team in recent days. We have said that we consider his recent social media activity to be a breach of our guidelines.

“The BBC has decided that he will step back from presenting Match of the Day until we’ve got an agreed and clear position on his use of social media.

“When it comes to leading our football and sports coverage, Gary is second to none. We have never said that Gary should be an opinion free zone, or that he can’t have a view on issues that matter to him, but we have said that he should keep well away from taking sides on party political issues or political controversies.”