English footballing legend Gary Lineker says a Turkish refugee who stayed in his home suffered “hell” while in the UK's asylum system.
The BBC presenter, 61, revealed how he took in a man of 26, who had been caught up in an attempted military coup and escaped 18 months of imprisonment, only to encounter red tape from the UK Home Office.
Lineker, one of the BBC’s highest paid presenters, previously offered his Surrey home to a refugee from Balochistan, in Pakistan, and more recently the man from Turkey.
Speaking about his second guest, he told The Daily Mirror: “He’s a really smart kid and wants to be a rocket scientist, actually.
“He was with us about a month and was such a sweet kid and has now gone to university.”
After the refugee fled Turkey, Lineker said he spent 18 months in the UK Home Office system where he was treated badly.
“He said it was hell,” Lineker said.
The comments came as he was found to have breached BBC impartiality rules over a comment he made about the Conservative Party having links to “Russian donors” earlier this year.
The presenter was admonished for sharing an article on Twitter about then-foreign secretary Liz Truss urging Premier League teams to boycott the Champions League final in Russia.
He asked: “And her party will hand back their donations from Russian donors?”
The BBC said it received a complaint over whether the comment was consistent with its impartiality rules, which it said as “one of the BBC’s highest profile stars” Lineker is expected to follow.
Lineker, a prolific user of Twitter with more than 8.5 million followers, pointed out that his post was prompted by an article on football, and it was intended as a comment on the sport rather than on politics.
But the BBC’s Executive Complaints Unit judged that “one of the purposes” of his tweet was “to highlight a perceived inconsistency in the Conservative Party’s approach at a time when relations between the UK and Russia were the subject of significant public debate”.
“For this reason, we found the tweet was in breach of the relevant guidance and did not meet the BBC’s editorial standards on impartiality,” it said.
The corporation said Lineker declined to comment on the decision.