Gary Lineker: BBC Annual report shows Match of the Day sports presenter still top earner head of Zoe Ball despite £400,000 pay reduction

Sports presenter Gary Lineker is still the BBC's highest earning on-air talent, despite last year agreeing to a pay reduction of around £400,000.

Match Of The Day host Lineker still highest earner at the BBC with a £1.36 million annual pay.(Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
Match Of The Day host Lineker still highest earner at the BBC with a £1.36 million annual pay.(Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Zoe Ball remains the broadcaster's second highest paid talent after requesting a pay cut when agreeing a new two-year deal as Radio 2's breakfast host.

The corporation's annual report for 2020/21 shows it has slashed 10% from its pay bill for top talent, after some of its biggest names agreed to salary cuts or quit.

It was announced last year that Match Of The Day host Lineker had taken a pay cut, which reduced his pay from £1.75 million to £1.36 million.

The 60-year-old first topped the list for 2017-18 with a pay bracket of £1,750,000 and £1,759,999.

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Meanwhile, Ball asked to reduce her pay by 28% to £980,000 to reflect the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

This figure is lower than is listed in the 2020/21 annual report, which shows her earnings to be in the bracket of £1,130,000-£1,134,999 and which represents only a few months of Ball's new salary deal - including the reduction the presenter requested.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "Zoe Ball is a world-class broadcaster hosting Radio 2's flagship show and her professionalism and commitment to the Breakfast Show is extraordinary.

"She's hugely talented and has made the show her own, with many millions of listeners tuning in each morning to the nation's most listened to Breakfast Show."

Speaking during the launch of the report, BBC director-general Tim Davie said discussions with top on-air talent over reducing their pay packets had been "mutual and constructive".

"I am not going to give information on the specifics of the conversations," he said.

"All I would say is I think everyone recognises the strategy, which is getting value to audiences and, without being funny, most conversations are mutual and constructive.

"Now, clearly as a management team, we want to get more value and we are willing to make tough decisions to that extent.

"I think these conversations have all been constructive, as with Zoe Ball where she came forward and said she wanted to adjust the salary. I think everyone is absolutely with the programme on that one."

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