Catholic boxer Tyson Fury will remain on the shortlist for BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) award, despite the star asking to be removed from the list and pleading with fans not to vote for him.
The broadcaster refused to remove the world heavyweight champion from the shortlist after he shared a social media post demanding they remove him from the list after he was unveiled as one of the six athletes in contention for the award.
“This is a message for the BBC and their SPOTY award,” Fury, 32, said in a video posted online. “Please take me off your list, I am the people’s champion and have no need for verification or any awards.
“I know who I am and what I’ve done in sports and the love of the people is worth more to me than all the awards in the world.
“So, to all of my supporters please don’t vote (for me) on this and take me off the list.”
However, in response to the boxer’s demands, the BBC insisted that is has no intention of removing him from the shortlist and will continue to celebrate his achievements as part of the programme, regardless of whether he participates.
“The shortlist is decided by an independent expert panel who choose contenders based on their sporting achievement in a given year,” said a BBC spokesperson.
“On this basis Tyson Fury will remain on the list for SPOTY 2020.
“As always the winner will be decided by the public voting during the live show and it is of course up to Tyson if he chooses to participate in the show.”
The SPOTY award will be presented on 20th December.
The shortlist includes another devout Catholic, Lewis Hamilton. The Formula One ace recently drew level with Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of seven Formula One world championships and has urged the sport “to do more” to improve human rights issues in some of its host countries.
The other contenders for this year’s SPOTY award are cricketer Stuart Broad, jockey Hollie Doyle, footballer Jordan Henderson and snooker star Ronnie O’Sullivan.
Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford is also set to receive a special award in recognition of his work to raise awareness of child food poverty in the UK.
Picture: Tyson Fury.