Belfast Telegraph

Gary Lineker tells Northern Ireland to 'relax' over SPOTY controversy - 'it's just a TV awards show'

By Claire Williamson

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.

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.

Read more:

Sports Personality of the Year shortlist 'is anti-countries of the UK'

BBC's Stephen Nolan forced to submit FOI to access BBC information on SPOTY judging panel

Carl Frampton has BBC on ropes over Sports Personality award snub

Carl Frampton BBC Sports Personality awards omission a scandal: First Minister Arlene Foster 

Barry McGuigan boycotts BBC Sports awards over snub to Northern Ireland heroes 

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."





Belfast Telegraph Digital


From Belfast Telegraph