BBC Sports Personality of the Year: It’s not the winning, it’s the turning up that counts as Andy Murray misses ceremony

Murray may well be named BBC Sports Personality of the Year tonight, but he won’t be there

Andy Murray may be the first British man to win a Wimbledon singles title in 77 years and be the bookmakers’ favourite to lift the BBC Sports Personality of the Year trophy this evening, but today, one of the show’s co-creators said the media-shy Scot wouldn’t be getting his vote.

It is the most prestigious award in British sport and is celebrating its 60th year. But the 12,000 fans attending the glittering ceremony in Leeds tonight will be disappointed as the tennis player, who has been strongly backed to win the trophy, is not attending.

Instead he is remaining in Miami to continue his rehabilitation from a back injury.

In an interview with The Independent on Sunday, Sir Paul Fox, who edited the first show in 1954, said: “Everybody says Andy Murray will win it. I’m not so sure my vote will go to him, though. He can come again another year, and if he can’t be bothered to attend, well, I think that makes a difference, quite honestly.

“My vote goes to Mo Farah. His Olympic achievements last year followed by medals at the World Championships this year are truly amazing.”

The BBC said it was “disappointed” the tennis player will not be attending, but was “looking forward” to him joining the programme via a video link-up. The show’s co-host Gary Lineker said on Friday that Murray may “regret” not attending in years to come.

If Murray does win, he will not be the first sports star to fail to collect his trophy in person. Cricketers Ian Botham (1981) and Andrew Flintoff (2005) both missed collecting their prizes as they were playing abroad. In 2007, the boxer Joe Calzaghe was awarded the trophy in Las Vegas after travelling to watch a fight.

This isn’t the first time that controversy has dogged the programme in recent years.

In 2011, it hit the headlines after an all-male shortlist – selected by the sports editors of national newspapers – was announced, causing claims of sexism. Critics point out that only 12 women have won the award: swimmer Anita Lonsbrough was first, in 1962.

Philip Bernie, the BBC’s head of TV sport, said that the show was “incredibly complex and occasionally it doesn’t quite go to plan”, but that the corporation had “learnt lessons”. It now has procedures in place to ensure it won’t happen again, including a new advisory panel.

Footballers, perhaps surprisingly, have also been under-represented, with only five players winning the prize, starting in 1966 with Bobby Moore, who captained England in their World Cup win that year.

Sir Paul, who went on to be controller of BBC1,  said he had no idea in 1954 that the show would last so long, but is disappointed that it is no longer a “proper” sports review of the year: “Sadly, the BBC has lost so many live sports contracts that they can no longer do that. Let’s face it, tonight half the footage on the show will be borrowed from Sky or ITV.”

It’s a far cry from the first show in 1954, when the BBC had a television monopoly and the runner Christopher Chataway beat rival runner Roger Bannister to the award.

“Christopher Chataway won it because he ran a fantastic race at White City before a live television audience. Whether that was the outstanding achievement of the year I doubt, but it showed us the power of television,” said Sir Paul.

“The outstanding achievement of the year was Roger Bannister’s sub-four minute mile, but that was shown on television the following day, and not shown live.”

News
The guide, since withdrawn, used illustrations and text to help people understand the court process (Getty)
newsMinistry of Justice gets law 'terribly wrong' in its guide to courts
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
people
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
scienceFeed someone a big omelette, and they may give twice as much, thanks to a compound in the eggs
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links