The BBC’s World Cup anchorman, Gary Lineker, is reported to have been suspended for the remainder of the broadcaster’s coverage of the tournament, as rumours grow of an upcoming weekend tabloid exposé claiming the former England Captain has a debilitating potato crisp addiction.

Last night the corporation released a statement saying the star is currently on leave and that they are unable to confirm exactly when, or indeed if, he will be back on our screens.

Friends and colleagues alike are said to be relieved that the news is out. Alan Shearer told reporters: ‘It’s been getting really awful. He can hardly get into his chair without at least three or four jumbo bags of Tyrrell’s inside him and that’s just the start of it.’

‘During live matches he sometimes never even bothers watching the game. He just spends the entire time wolfing down bag after bag of whatever he can lay his hands on and gets a production assistant to write him up some match notes for the autocue.’

Pundit, Jermaine Jenas, added: ‘At first it was only the good gear like Walkers, M&S and Kettle Chips, but recently he’s met a lad who works in a cash and carry who can supply him with hundreds of those cheap 10p bags sold in corner shops.’

’That’s really worrying as he can’t be sure what he’s putting in his body. But I’ve seen him polish off an entire box of 48 just in the space of one match. It’s harrowing to watch.’

Meanwhile as concerns grow for the former footballing legend the hashtag #PrayForGaryLineker is trending across social media.