"Let's be clear - we've got the best sports broadcaster in the world," said Davie.

"We want to make sure that he can come back on air, we work together to make that happen and everyone wants to see a reasonable solution to this."

The above two sentences on Sunday morning were all it took for Director General Tim Davie to ensure no inexpensive end to the Gary Lineker controversy for the BBC. Many (mainly on Twitter) wondered whether Lineker's Tweet last Tuesday, which drew a comparison between government policy and the rhetoric surrounding the rise of the Nazi Party in 1930s Germany, constituted gross misconduct. Gross misconduct, simplistically, is a matter of contract -- it is conduct that is capable of destroying the relationship between the employer and employee or, in this case, consultant (Lineker) and client (the BBC). It allows the engaging party to dismiss the individual without further payment.

Even if Lineker's Tweet were gross misconduct (and I must emphasise that I am not privy to the contract or familiar enough with the BBC's policies to confirm that!), then in his interview on Sunday morning, Davie waived any such 'repudiatory' breach. If an employer (or in this case the BBC as the client of a consultant) is aware of behaviour that fundamentally breaches the contract, and then doesn't act quickly enough or, by its actions, indicates that the relationship hasn't been destroyed, the employer can accidentally "affirm" a contract even after conduct that would otherwise be capable of repudiating it, thus losing the chance for a gross misconduct dismissal.

Whatever Lineker's contract says when Tim Davie confirmed Sunday morning that "Success for me is getting Gary back on air", that contract was affirmed. Davie explicitly stated that the relationship was far from destroyed. Unless there is some very anti-Lineker drafting in his contract, the BBC has lost the chance to dismiss Lineker for gross misconduct. To get him out quickly and bring a swift end to an extremely embarrassing affair for the BBC, there will have to be some form of payment.

If I had the unenviable job of advising the BBC last week, and my instructions were that this may have been gross misconduct, then I would have recommended a suspension to investigate. But while that would have "stopped the clock" on any potential affirmation of Lineker's contract, it would have opened a whole new can of political and PR worms in such a high-profile case...