Belfast Telegraph

SPOTY awards should have judge from each area of UK, says ex-BBC sport boss

By Claire Williamson

The BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards should consider having someone from each area of the UK on the selection panel, the former director of BBC sport has said.

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 Stephen Nolan show has submitted a Freedom of Information request in order to obtain the information.

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:

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

Carl Frampton a winner regardless of BBC 

Carl Frampton has BBC on ropes over Sports Personality award snub

Carl Frampton frozen out of BBC Sports awards but the welcome from fans is red hot 

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

Carl Frampton celebrated becoming a two-weight world champion. Jonathan Rea won back-to-back Superbike titles - only the fourth man in the sport to do so and the first British rider since Carl Fogarty in 1999.

Also Bethany Firth was the most decorated Paralympian at the Rio games winning three gold and one silver medal in swimming.

Frampton's manager and former SPOTY winner Barry McGuigan has said they will boycott the awards on December 18 which will be held in the Genting Arena in Birmingham.

Former director of BBC sport Roger Mosey said it would be a "good idea" to have full representation on the panel.

"It would be good always to make sure the selection panel is as fair as it can be," he told the BBC Nolan Show.

Mr Mosey said he feels the shortlist is too long - and that "they might as well have someone representing each nation".

"I think 16 is slightly too long a shortlist. It's too many people for the programme and realistically for people who are going to win.

"If you are going to have 16 you  might as well have someone representing each nation. I would rather they went for a short list more like six or eight rather than this extreme list.

Responding to Frampton's claim that the awards were "anti-Northern Ireland" Mr Mosey said it was also a boxing issue.

However the shortlist does include double Olympic gold-medal winning English boxer Nicola Adams.

He said: "If you look at Carl Frampton the issue there is both an Northern Irish issue and a boxing issue really. Is it about getting someone from Northern Ireland on the panel or someone who would be a stronger advocate for boxing?

"That's the kind of debate that will happen and should happen after this year's shortlist.

He added: "There are some omissions that looks very odd. Carl Frampton is one of them, Chris Froome is another one, you can argue that the shortlist looks both too long in my view and a bit over Rio focused. Looking at what happened outside Rio is important as well as what happened in that amazing games."

Mr Mosey said that now he works outside of the BBC he has a "stronger awareness" of what it means to represent the whole of the UK.

He said: "The BBC needs to make sure it does reflect the whole of the uk.

"The politics in SPOTY shortlist are incredibly difficult to untangle.

"In the end it's better to go for fewer bigger better choices and let the real contenders battle it out on the night. "

Belfast Telegraph Digital


From Belfast Telegraph