BBC cut Mark Lawrenson’s Match of the Day appearances

Reduced punditry role for former Ireland and Liverpool defender


Mark Lawrenson’s appearances on Match of the Day are to be cut next season as the BBC seeks to freshen up its flagship football show.

The ex-Republic of Ireland international’s name was omitted completely when the corporation announced its list of pundits for 2013/14 yesterday, prompting claims he had been sacked.

However, a BBC spokesperson later confirmed that the 56-year-old remained on the Match of the Day presenting team but with “a reduced role” for the new campaign.

He will continue to be a regular presence on Match of the Day 2 and Radio 5 Live.

Match of the Day’s punditry team has attracted increased criticism in recent years, with the emergence of Gary Neville on Sky intensifying scrutiny on the quality of their analysis.

But while Alan Hansen and Alan Shearer have kept their jobs as lead pundits on the programme. Lawrenson, who also held that status, is the main casualty of the revamp.

From next season he will join a roster of pundits, a pool that includes the ex-Chelsea manager Gianluca Vialli, the ex-Brighton manager Gus Poyet, Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler, Les Ferdinand and Robbie Savage.

Guardian Service