BBC denies demanding Tyson Fury was on shortlist
The BBC has denied reports that it ordered judges to include Tyson Fury on the shortlist for Sports Personality of the Year.
Yesterday, the Belfast Telegraph revealed that the judging panel did not meet to discuss adding the controversial boxer to the line-up for the glittering ceremony in Belfast's SSE Arena.
A source close to the process told the Belfast Telegraph that the judging panel met in November to agree a shortlist of 10.
At the end of the meeting they were told that if Great Britain won the Davis Cup and Tyson Fury the world heavyweight title, Andy Murray and Fury were likely to be added to the 10.
After those wins, emails were sent to the judges informing them that Murray and Fury had been added to the list and stated that if the judges had any comments, to respond with them.
No second meeting of the full judging panel took place.
A BBC spokesperson said: "It was the unanimous decision of the panel that significant sporting events which took place after the panel convened should be taken into consideration before the final shortlist was announced.
"It was again unanimously decided by panel members that Murray and Fury should be added to the shortlist.'
The spokesperson added: "Each member of the panel was contacted by phone to discuss the implications of Tyson Fury winning the world heavyweight boxing title and Andy Murray's contribution to the GB Davis Cup victory.
"It was a unanimous panel decision that these individuals should be added to the shortlist on the basis of their sporting achievements."
The spokesperson continued: "An email confirmation of what the panel agreed was sent by the chair to all panel members the following day."