MATCH Of The Day ran for just 20-minutes last night as the carnage-engulfed BBC limped to get the show on-air.
The flagship footie programme didn’t even play it’s iconic theme tune to kick-off the show and an announcer apologised for the slimmed down offering.
Viewers were left speechless as highlights of Saturday’s games were shown with crowd noises but no commentary.
And there were no presenters or pundits in the studio after staff walked out in a growing mutiny following Gary Lineker’s suspension.
It came as co-hosts Ian Wright, Alan Shearer, Jermaine Jenas, Alex Scott, Mark Chapman and Micah Richards refused to fill in, plunging the football analysis show into crisis.
Match Of The Day – which usually runs for 80-minutes – started at the usual time of 10.20pm but only showed Prem match highlights.
As the show began, an announcer said: “We’re sorry that we’re unable to show our normal Match Of The Day including commentary tonight.
“But here now is the best action from today’s Premier League matches.”
The show ended with a jingle as the Premier League table standings were shown before abruptly ending.
BBC One then showed Tom Hanks drama Sully about the Hudson River plane landing.
Earlier, a Beeb insider told UK Times on Sunday last night’s show would be “the biggest own goal in the BBC’s history”.
They added: “Match of the Day is a British institution, so everyone at the BBC from the top down was adamant the show must go on.
“But the sorry excuse of a programme which went out probably did more damage than if it was taken off air for the weekend while things were resolved.”
Mr Lineker was pulled off the programme – which he’s hosted since 1999 – on Friday after comparing the Government’s Illegal Migration Bill to “1930s Germany”.
UK Times on Sunday understands BBC boss Tim Davie is locked in a standoff with Mr Lineker, who refuses to back down amid a row over his controversial tweets.
Crisis-engulfed Davie told the BBC on Saturday he would “absolutely not” quit amid a fallout that has bought the corporation to its knees.
Football Focus, Final Score, the Fighting Talk podcast and 5Live’s 606 football phone in were all canned as the staff uprising sent schedules into meltdown.
The biggest own goal in the BBC’s history
BBC insider on Match Of The Day
It is unclear whether Match Of The Day 2 – which airs on Sunday – will go ahead.
Mr Davie described the unfolding disaster as a “difficult day” and apologised for the disruption to BBC sports programming.
Asked if he was sorry about the way he handled the furore, he told the BBC on Saturday: “We made decisions and I made decisions based on a real passion about what the BBC is and it’s difficult.”
He insisted the row is about impartiality.
As his employer battled fires on all fronts – Mr Lineker today took time out to watch his beloved Leicester City in action at the King Power Stadium against Chelsea.
The ex-England star was pictured watching the Foxes alongside one of his sons – and appeared all smiles despite his side losing 3-1.
The row was triggered when Mr Lineker responded to a video on Twitter of Home Secretary Suella Braverman as she presented the Government’s small boats plan.
The legislation will see migrants swiftly detained and removed to either their country of origin or a safe third state within 28 days.
Sharing the clip, Mr Lineker said: “Good heavens, this is beyond awful.”
Responding to another user who described him as “out of order”, he added: “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, and I’m out of order?”
In a statement after suspending Mr Lineker, the BBC outlined they had undergone “extensive discussions” with the ex-England star, 62, following the furore.
While the Beeb praised his sports coverage as “second to none” they said he should “keep well away from taking sides” on party political topics.
The crisis reached its peak late on Saturday when Prime Minister Rishi Sunak waded into the row, saying the presenter’s suspension is an issue for the BBC, not him.
Mr Sunak said the chaos was “rightly a matter” for the BBC, not the Government.
He added that while he respected “not everyone will always agree” with Government policies, he praised Mr Lineker for being a “great footballer and talented presenter”.
It came as an ad of talkSport’s Alan Brazil appeared outside the crisis-ravaged headquarters of the BBC on Saturday.
The rival broadcaster told the BBC in a tongue-in-cheek stunt: “Here comes the super sub. Alan Brazil is ready to step in.”