When two players knelt on the grass and bowed their heads after scoring a goal, Linekar quipped that they “ate grass”.

Lineker’s trouble-making remark came during the Champions League game between Schalke and Montpellier on Wednesday.

“A terrific effort from Karim Ait-Fana, who scored from just outside the area and then ate grass. . .as you do,” said Lineker after the French team scored a goal.

Islamic football players frequently adopt the prayer position to celebrate scoring a goal, but Linekar, who was apparently unaware of this, informed viewers than the players were taking a mouthful of the pitch.

The comment did not go down well on Al Jazeera, which has a large Islamic audience and Lineker has been forced to apologise.

“I’m sorry but I’m not aware of every player’s religion,” Lineker wrote on his website.