Lineker made the comment on air for TV channel Al Jazeera during Wednesday’s Champions League match between Schalke and Montpellier. While analysing the French team’s opening goal, Lineker said: “A terrific effort by Karim Ait-Fana, who scored from just outside the area and then ate grass... as you do.”
The celebration is popular among Muslim players and is quite common in the English Premier League too. However, the 51-year-old former England striker later pleaded his ignorance on the issue claiming he had no knowledge of the religious nature of the incident after his comments were widely criticised online.
One viewer wrote on Twitter: “Lineker’s comment about Muslims (is a) very stupid remark and (one of) sheer ignorance.”
Another wrote: “I’m off to the mosque for Friday prayers shortly. Or ‘eating grass’ as Gary Lineker likes to call it.”
Lineker immediately wrote on his website: “I’m sorry but I’m not aware of every player’s religion.”