Sue Barker steps down as host of BBC's Sports Personality Of The Year after 19 years

 

Sue Barker has stepped down as host of the BBC's Sports Personality Of The Year ceremony after 19 years.

The 57-year-old broadcaster said she had decided to leave as part of her decision to "downsize" her commitments, but she will serve on the judging panel for this year's 60th awards.

Gary Lineker, Clare Balding and newcomer to the show Gabby Logan will instead share the presenting duties for the BBC1 ceremony which takes place on December 15 from the First Direct Arena in Leeds.

Former tennis star Barker will continue to present many other shows including coverage of Wimbledon and the Winter Olympics.

And the BBC said she would "play a major role in contributing to this year's live show".

Barker said: "It has been an honour to present BBC Sports Personality Of The Year for the last 19 years and I have loved every minute of it.

"The BBC have asked me to stay but I had made the decision to downsize my commitments a while ago, and I knew that the time would be right after what was always set to be a magical 2012.

"I will still be very much involved with the show though and am looking forward to the 60th anniversary celebrations coming up this year."

BBC director of sport Barbara Slater said Barker's departure from the show was being announced "with a sad heart".

"This is Sue's decision and one that we all respect," she said.

"However fans needn't worry, she won't be absent from our screens on the night; bringing some special elements to the show as we look back on what has been another bumper year for UK sport.

"Sue will also remain very much a key part of our presenting team at BBC Sport, as we prepare for a busy 2014 sporting calendar."

Panellists - who also include BBC Radio 5 Live's Mark Pougatch, Dame Kelly Holmes, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and Michael Vaughan - will choose the shortlist and the public will then cast their votes.

Last year Sir Bradley Wiggins took the main prize.

PA

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