Gary Lineker tells Northern Ireland to 'relax' over SPOTY controversy - 'it's just a TV awards show'
Former footballer and presenter Gary Lineker has told Northern Ireland it should "relax" over the BBC Sports Personality of the Year controversy.
The coveted sporting awards event has come under fire after it failed to have any representation from Northern Ireland as it released its extended shortlist.
How ridiculous! Moves around every year. Last year Northern Ireland, this year Birmingham. They need to relax, it's just a TV awards show. https://t.co/cT1x9EmN2p— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) December 1, 2016
Last year N.I. won best coach, Michael O'Neill, lifetime achievement, AP McCoy. Such ludicrously short memories. https://t.co/PLIAM316CK— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) December 1, 2016
Of the 16 shortlisted, only two are from outside England and only two are not Olympians or Paralympians.
The panel which determined the shortlist included 12 members. All are from either England or Wales.
The BBC has refused to disclose who decides who is on the selection panel for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
The awards were accused of being "anti-Northern Ireland" by Belfast's world champion boxer Carl Frampton who made history in 2016 - he also raised questions over the absence of fellow local sporting heros.
Frampton's manager and former SPOTY winner has said they will boycott the event which will be held in Birmingham on December 18.
On Thursday DUP MP Nigel Dodds told the House of Commons that the BBC was "London-centric" and "anti-countries of the UK approach".
To which Lineker- who is a host of the show - took to Twitter to brand 'ridiculous".
He said: "How ridiculous! Moves around every year. Last year Northern Ireland, this year Birmingham. They need to relax, it's just a TV awards show."
He was then challenged when it was put to him that "it's about our athletes not getting nominated, not about the venue".
The Match of the Day presenter responded: "Last year NI won best coach, Michael O'Neill, lifetime achievement, A.P McCoy. Such ludicrously short memories."