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LONDON – BBC presenter Gary Lineker made a low-key return to live television on Saturday as he led the football broadcaster’s coverage of the FA Cup, but chose not to directly address his recent suspension at because of a tweet that criticized the British government’s migration policy.

Lineker was reinstated by the BBC on Monday after the public broadcaster backed down and reversed its suspension of the former footballing great following a huge backlash and major interruptions to its normal sports coverage last weekend.

Lineker, 62, a former England national team star and one of the BBC’s best-known entertainers, was back in the studio alongside former players Alan Shearer and Micah Richards ahead of the quarter-final of Manchester City’s FA Cup against Burnley at the Etihad Stadium.

“Alan, it’s great to be here,” Lineker said, his voice sounding hoarser than usual, but he made no further reference to the recent turmoil in his opening remarks.

Instead, it was Shearer who addressed the situation after he and a host of other football pundits and commentators refused to work for the BBC last weekend in solidarity with Lineker. As a result, several football programs were canceled and the popular ‘Match of the Day’ – featuring Premier League highlights – was cut from its normal 80 minutes to just 20 minutes of match footage without any commentary or analysis.

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Gary Lineker back on air to lead BBC FA Cup coverage

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