Lewis Hamilton has been snubbed for this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year after losing his Formula One title showdown but Tyson Fury has been included, despite threatening the BBC with legal action.
Fury has been named as a candidate, alongside heavy favourite Emma Raducanu and four other sporting stars, after knocking out Deontay Wilder and retaining his WBC world heavyweight title in October.
Last year, Fury asked to be removed from the shortlist after beating Wilder for the first time, saying he did not need ‘verification’ from such awards.
The BBC refused his demands but the boxer was not voted in the top three, to the relief of all involved. Now he’s been included again and will battle Raducanu for the prize following her stunning US Open win back in September.
There is no place on the shortlist for Hamilton, who has been dealt another blow less than 24 hours after he was controversially beaten to the Formula One world title by Max Verstappen.
It appeared Hamilton, the reigning SPOTY champion, had been given a boost in his bid to defend his crown when organisers delayed the announcing of the nominees until after Sunday’s showdown in Abu Dhabi.
Nominees are usually named in the last week of November or first week in December but Hamilton was given more time to stake his claim, only for him to lose his F1 crown to Verstappen, a nominee for the World Sport Star of the Year award.
It’s thought Hamilton, who was crowned SPOTY in 2014 as well, would have been a leading contender if he won a record eighth world title to surpass Michael Schumacher.
One man included on the shortlist is Fury, although he was not excited by the prospect of being in contention for the award.
Speaking to The Telegraph earlier this month, Fury said: ‘It (SPOTY) means nothing to me, and I don’t need it or want it.
‘In fact, they will hear from my solicitors if they do put me on the list. Give it to someone who needs it. I don’t. We know who the sports personality of the year is anyway – it’s me.
‘Who does what I do, goes through a war in Las Vegas, entertains the fans, and then sings to the audience?’
Raducanu, 19, is the overwhelming favourite with the bookies to win the prize after she became the first qualifier in the Open era to win a Grand Slam.
She swept all before her at Flushing Meadows earlier this year, beating Leylah Fernandez in a dramatic final to cap the most incredible of underdog stories.
She burst onto the scene earlier in the summer when, despite waiting for her A-level results and being ranked 338th in the world, Raducanu made it to the fourth round of Wimbledon before retiring from her last-16 match due to breathing difficulties.
Raducanu and Fury face competition from Tom Daley and Adam Peaty, two of Great Britain’s most high-profile Olympians, as well as England footballer Raheem Sterling and Paralympic cyclist Dame Sarah Storey.
Daley finally became an Olympic champion after winning gold in the synchronised 10m platform event alongside Matty Lee. He also won bronze in the men’s 10m platform to become the first British diver to claim four Olympic medals.
Peaty became the first British swimmer to defend an Olympic title after winning the 100m breaststroke gold again in Tokyo, which was Britain’s first gold medal of the Games.
He also added to his medal haul with gold in the 4x100m medley relay and silver in the men’s medley relay
Manchester City forward Sterling was in electric form during Euro 2020. He scored three times, including in the memorable last-16 win over Germany at Wembley, as Gareth Southgate’s side narrowly lost out on penalties to Italy in the final.
Sterling has also enjoyed a fine 12 months at club level. He scored 10 Premier League goals last season as City won the Premier League for the third time in four years and has six goals in the current campaign.
Storey became Britain’s most successful Paralympian of all time after winning a 17th gold medal in Tokyo.
She defended her C4-5 road race title and won individual pursuit and time-trial gold in the Japanese capital, which was her eighth Paralympic games.
Hosted by Gary Lineker, Clare Balding, Gabby Logan and Alex Scott, the ceremony will take place at MediaCity in Salford. The six contenders will face a public vote, which will open during the show.
Hamilton won the prize last year after equalling Schumacher’s record of seven world titles, with Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson finishing second and jockey Hollie Doyle taking third
The Mercedes driver appeared to be charging to another world title in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, easily holding Verstappen at bay only for a crash for the Williams of Nicholas Latifi to change the course of events in the closing laps.
Confusion reigned as under-fire race director Michael Masi changed his mind to allow lapped cars to pass the safety car – meaning Verstappen had a clear run at Hamilton in the final lap and, on much faster fresh tyres, made his move to claim a first F1 title.
Mercedes immediately launched two appeals against the result, one against Verstappen for allegedly overtaking under a safety car and a second claiming a breach of rules regarding race restarts following a safety car period.
Both were dismissed after the two teams spent hours in the stewards’ office, Verstappen able to toast his title over four hours after crossing the finish line – albeit with Mercedes lodging an intention to appeal the call.
There will be no live audience in attendance at this year’s SPOTY ceremony due to the new measures brought in by the Government to tackle the Omicron variant of Covid-19.
Only essential staff and contributors will be allowed at the venue. The BBC said: ‘The health and safety of those attending BBC Sports Personality of the Year is always our primary concern.
‘Following the announcement from the UK Government that new Coronavirus measures are to be introduced in England, we’ve taken the decision not to have a studio audience at this year’s event.’
Voting is also currently open for the World Sport Star of the Year, a prize for the most impressive international athletes over the last 12 months.
Verstappen, Mexican boxer Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, Irish jockey Rachael Blackmore, NFL star Tom Brady, tennis player Novak Djokovic and Jamaican sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah are the contenders.