Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker outside his home in London on Sunday, March 12, 2023. (Lucy North/PA via AP)

LONDON (AP) — BBC sports coverage was cut for a second day on Sunday as dozens of staff refused to work in solidarity with famed football presenter Gary Lineker, who was suspended by the network after he tweeted criticism of the UK government’s asylum policy.

The news organization is facing the consequences and questioning its impartiality after suspending Lineker, one of England’s most recognizable football players and the network’s highest-paid presenter, on Friday after comparing the wording of the draft Conservative government immigration law with that used in Nazi Germany.

Lineker was referring to government plans to stop migrants reaching British shores in small boats through a series of tough laws that would detain asylum seekers, deport them and prevent them from returning to the country.

Immigration and ‘taking back control’ of UK borders has been a contentious issue in the UK since the Brexit referendum in 2016, and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has made ending migrant crossings one of his top priorities across the Channel. But his plans have been sharply criticized by the UN refugee agency and various human rights groups, who say his policies are unethical and unworkable.

The BBC is facing mounting pressure to resolve the crisis, with increasingly frequent calls for its leaders to resign over allegations of political bias and curbs on free speech.

The controversy impacted BBC sports programming after dozens of sports presenters and journalists refused to work over the weekend in support of Lineker.

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