Gary Lineker has called on the handball law to be changed

By Tony Hughes

Just hours after his divorce from wife Danielle was confirmed, Gary Lineker made a crude joke on Match of the Day about “making himself bigger”.

The BBC football presenter was discussing the handball rule with pundit Alan Shearer following the highlights of Manchester United’s thrilling 3-3 draw with Newcastle when he made the quip.

Lineker and Shearer were talking about the section of football’s laws on handball stating that the referee must consider “whether the player uses his hands or arms to make himself bigger”.

And Lineker said:”‘I like the bit about making himself bigger, it’s quite interesting”, before Shearer replied: “I bet you do, yeah”. Lineker then added: “Well, we’ve all done that with our hands.”

Amid laughter in the studio, he continued: “Sorry, anyway, we’ll move on”, before introducing highlights of Manchester City’s 0-0 draw with Everton and grimacing as the camera faded out.

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They had been talking about the controversial handball by Newcastle’s Chancel Mbemba which led to an early penalty for Manchester United, scored by Wayne Rooney on Tuesday.

Some viewers tweeted that the joke at about 11.30pm was “tasteless and unnecessary” and “crass”, while others described it as “classic” and the “funniest thing I’ve ever heard Lineker say on MOTD”.

Lineker had just announced that he was going to divorce Danielle after six years of marriage amid claims the pair disagreed over starting a family together.

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The divorce was confirmed on Wednesday, just over six years after the former England footballer and actress were married in Italy in 2009, but they insist they remain on good terms.

It is believed that Danielle, 36, wanted to start a family but Lineker, 55, who already has four children, feels he is old to become a father to another baby,

The divorce comes just days after they were last seen together on a night out in London, but it was claimed they had been living separate lives for more than a year.

The couple, believed to be worth around £20million, are said to have spent just £400 on the divorce, filling out the online forms together to get a Decree Nisi which was granted yesterday.

Lineker tweeted yesterday: ‘Thank you all for your kind words. @DanielleBux and I had many wonderful years together. We remain very close and the greatest of friends.’