Mr Lineker is the host of Match of the Day on the BBC, but as the next Chairman of the broadcaster poses the possibility of change, the former footballer could be replaced. Former editor of the Sun, Kelvin MacKenzie, made a surprising entry to the race despite being a prominent critic of the public broadcaster. Announcing that he was applying for the role, Mr Mackenzie proposed changes he would make. He said he would sell-off Radio 1 and Radio 2 as well as BBC One and BBC Two.
The £157.50 licence fee would be halved to make the BBC more competitive with the monthly subscription charged by Netflix.
He added that those who refuse to pay the licence fee would no longer face jail, saying: “I don’t want to be charged a fee by the state.”
Mr Lineker’s new £1.35m a year BBC contract would be ripped up.
Mr MacKenzie said: “He can go and eat crisps for a living or work for BT Sport.”
However, Radio 4 would survive the reshuffle if Mr MacKenzie took the role because the commercial sector “can’t replicate what they do”, citing “great obscure Nigerian plays” as an example.
He is also a close friend of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, having worked under him when at the Sun.
The journalist’s column for ended in 2017 after he compared the footballer Ross Barkley, who is mixed-race, to a gorilla.
The newspaper published an apology afterwards, saying: “ has apologised for the offence caused by the piece.
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“We would like to take this opportunity to apologise personally to Ross Barkley.”
The appointment of Mr MacKenzie would likely be met with resistance within the BBC.
When former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre and former Telegraph editor Charles Moore were linked with BBC roles, it was described as signalling “all-out war”.
The i reported that insiders feared this and that placing editorial regulation of the BBC into the hands of the “politically-controlled” watchdog Ofcom under Mr Dacre would be an “assault on freedom of expression that should horrify all lovers of liberty.”
When Lord Moore was linked with the BBC chairman job, a senior BBC figure told the Financial Times this week that Lord Moore’s nomination would be a “statement of intent” from Downing Street.
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They added: “Charles Moore is not just a commentator, and he is not just a Conservative.
“He is [out] . . . to destroy an organisation.”
Meanwhile, a former BBC board member called the prospect of Lord Moore taking on the role as “a bad joke”.
Lord Moore backed away amid family health problems despite claims he was Downing Street’s top choice for the position.