Tyson Fury demands removal from Sports Personality of the Year shortlist

By Mark Staniforth, PA
·2-min read

Tyson Fury has demanded the BBC take him off this year’s list of contenders for the Sports Personality of the Year award, and implored his supporters not to vote for him.

Fury was one of six athletes shortlisted this week for the award, alongside Lewis Hamilton, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Stuart Broad, Jordan Henderson and Hollie Doyle.

The world heavyweight champion wrote on his Instagram account: “This is a message for @bbcsport and their SPOTY award – please take me off your list as I’m the people’s champion and have no need for verification or any awards.

“I know who I am and what I’ve done in the sport. I have the love of the people which means more to me than all the awards in the world. To anyone who supports me, don’t vote.”

Fury’s previous appearance on the shortlist in 2015 caused controversy, with over 100,000 people signing a petition calling for the boxer’s removal over a series of outspoken comments on homophobia and abortion.

But in 2018 Fury’s omission from the final list, following his draw against Deontay Wilder, drew criticism from the boxer’s camp, including his then trainer Ben Davison, who called the decision a “shame”.

Ronnie O’Sullivan SPOTY Contender file photo
Ronnie O’Sullivan is also on the BBC shortlist (Nigel French/PA)

O’Sullivan described his own nomination this year as “exciting” and an “honour”, but it is not a view the six-time world snooker champion has always held.

After being overlooked for a place on the shortlist in 2019, O’Sullivan insisted he was not “politically correct” enough to feature, and added: “I’d rather take another few world titles and tournaments than a personality award.”

Hamilton, the 2014 winner, has also previously expressed his reluctance, explaining in 2018 that he found such shows “awkward”, and adding: “I don’t really think about it.”

Lewis Hamilton file photo
Lewis Hamilton has said he finds awards shows “awkward” (PA Wire)

There is already the potential for rancour at this year’s event, after O’Sullivan belittled Hamilton’s world title-winning achievements due to his access to the best equipment, insisting: “It’s a bit like driving around smoking a cigar with one finger on the wheel.”

This year’s winner will be revealed at Media City in Salford on December 20. The BBC has been contacted for comment.