Gary Lineker has explained why he deleted a tweet about England hero Chloe Kelly’s now famous celebration during the Euro 2022 final.
Kelly scored the winner in extra time as England beat Germany 2-1 to win Euro 2022. The Manchester City forward took off her shirt and wielded it over her head, mimicking Brandi Chastian’s iconic celebration from USA’s win over China in the 1999 World Cup final when she took off her shirt and slid on her knees wearing a sports bra.
Lineker is well known for his attempted puns on Twitter, and soon after England sealed victory he posted: “The @Lionesses have only gone and done it, and Kelly is England’s heroine, bra none.”
Lineker swiftly the deleted the tweet after some commenters took offence, seemingly not realising the context of the joke. The BBC presenter was criticised by Karen Ingala Smith, chief executive of the Nia charity campaigning against violence aimed at women, who wrote: “Please apologise for and condemn the sexist responses to your now deleted badly judged tweet.”
He explained: “It was just a play on words given the celebration. I do rubbish like that constantly on here, including on men’s football. I’ve deleted it as many people didn’t see the game so missed the context.”
Another admirer of Kelly’s celebration was Chastain herself, who tweeted: “I see you @Chloe_Kelly98 well done. Enjoy the free rounds of pints and dinners for the rest of your life from all of England. Cheers!”
Kelly was shown a yellow card by referee Kateryna Monzul for her celebration as it is against the laws of the game to remove your shirt while celebrating, but she had no regrets.
“I just went mental,” she said. “Honestly, I didn’t know what to do! But I think it was an amazing celebration because — what a tournament! I didn’t think about it. I didn’t plan it. It was alright, wasn’t it?”