Match of the Day pundits get a ticking off from BBC
Pundits on the BBC's Match of the Day have been told to be more "opinionated" and "animated" as the flagship football show begins its 50th anniversary season amid unprecedented levels of competition in sports broadcasting.
Key contributors - including Alan Shearer, Robbie Savage, Rio Ferdinand and Ruud Gullit - will be encouraged to be more outspoken and critical in their match analysis as the programme attempts to fill a void left by the departure of its assertive chief pundit Alan Hansen after 22 years.
Mark Cole, head of football at the BBC, said last night that the show would give an enhanced analytical role to presenter Gary Lineker, who will also be encouraged to be more opinionated.
MotD's latest pundit, Phil Neville, has been given support and advice - including from Lineker - following criticism of his commentary at the World Cup in Brazil, Mr Cole said.
But he rejected claims that the BBC needed to revolutionise the MotD format in the face of media criticism that it has not kept pace with fiercely competitive commercial broadcasting rivals such as Sky and BT Sport. "You can't just reinvent the wheel," he said of the show's mainstream appeal.
"There's a difference between what the audience thinks Match of the Day should be and what journalists think Match of the Day should be." (© Independent News Service