World of Sport

Mark Lawrenson ‘relegated’ by BBC (but Alan Hansen survives)

Football expert Mark Lawrenson has been given a reduced role by the BBC for its future broadcasts.

The former Liverpool and Ireland defender, 56, has come under fire from fans after some below-par appearances as a pundit and co-commentator.

And as the BBC announced their new plans for sports broadcasting, there was no mention of Lawrenson's name alongside the other football experts on its roster – not even on their Match of the Day announcement, where every other support pundit got a mention. See for yourselves:

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From the BBC's official MOTD announcement:

On Saturday 17 August at 10:30pm, Match of the Day makes its comeback as the appointment viewing in football fans’ weekly TV schedule, with Gary Lineker hosting the enduringly popular highlights and analysis show. This season he’ll be joined in the studio by the Premier League’s leading all-time scorer Alan Shearer, the inimitable Alan Hansen and a range of new faces including Gus Poyet, Robbie Fowler, Les Ferdinand, Michael Owen, Robbie Savage and Gianluca Vialli...

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That led to speculation that 'Lawro' had been canned altogether, but the Telegraph reported a BBC source as saying he would still appear on Match of the Day and Radio Five Live, albeit in a reduced role.

Lineker still heads up the football coverage and is generally regarded as one of the top hosts in the game.

Shearer and Hansen – who have also been criticised for their limited knowledge of football outside the Premier League – have been fully retained as lead pundits, avoiding what was expected to be a widespread cull of the Beeb's ex-players.

Hansen (left) has retained his job as a lead pundit for the BBC, while Lawrenson (right) has seen his role reduced

The likes of Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler, Les Ferdinand, Gus Poyet, Gianluca Vialli, Robbie Savage and Peter Schmeichel will sit alongside Lawrenson as the supporting cast.

The BBC also announced that it would broaden its coverage of women's football following the success of the Women’s Euro, showing England’s World Cup qualifiers.