Andy Murray overlooked for knighthood in New Year’s Honours list - despite being recommended by No 10

Honours protocol means Wimbledon champion must wait for knighthood

Whitehall Editor

Andy Murray is to miss out on a knighthood in next week’s New Year Honours list, despite becoming the first British man to win Wimbledon in 77 years.

Downing Street said that it would recommend that Mr Murray became “Sir Andy” in recognition of his historic  victory at the All England Club last July.

But The Independent understands that the tennis star has fallen foul of Honours list protocol, which states that a decent interval of time must pass between awards.

Mr Murray was handed an OBE in the New Year’s Honours a year ago after winning the Olympic gold medal at London 2012 – making it too soon to “up” his award to a knighthood. But the decision – made by the sports honours committee that is chaired by the former London 2012 chairman Lord Coe – was criticised by one figure in Government as “stuffy”. Another said the strict rules encouraged well known people to “game” the system by turning down lesser honours in the hope of getting “upgraded” the next year.

They revealed that Honour officials were seeing growing cases where, rather than accept an MBE or an OBE, some celebrities wrote back to the Honours Committee suggesting they might be more worthy of an award at a later date.

“They phone up or write back and say, ‘Do you know, I’m not sure I’ve done anything worthwhile this year. Why not wait until I have done something really worthwhile,’ they said.

“They know if you get an MBE or an OBE that you have to wait a few years for something better. So they play the system in the hope of getting a CBE or a knighthood the next year. Perhaps Andy Murray should have tried that.”

Officials say that, as a general rule of thumb, MBEs are for people who have made a major contribution to their local community, OBEs are for those whose achievements are recognised nationally, while CBEs and knighthoods are for those whose performance is internationally renowned.

In July, No 10 sources compared Murray’s historic achievement with that of Sir Bradley Wiggins, who got his knighthood after becoming the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France in the event’s 100-year history. David Cameron watched the Wimbledon final from the Royal Box and compared Murray’s achievement with Britain’s golden Olympic summer of 2012, which also saw knighthoods awarded to cycling team boss Sir Dave Brailsford and sailor Sir Ben Ainslie.

The New Year Honours list will be published next Tuesday. Government officials who have seen the list describe it as “rather boring”.

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