Tyson Fury sends legal letter to BBC to have himself removed from SPOTY 2020 shortlist

Heavyweight world champion does not want to be included among the nominees for the BBC award

Jack de Menezes
Sports News Correspondent
Tuesday 15 December 2020 07:49
Anthony Joshua discusses Tyson Fury fight
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Tyson Fury has had his lawyers deliver a letter to the BBC ordering them to remove his name from the Sports Personality of the Year shortlist after his “polite” video request was ignored.

The WBC heavyweight champion posted a video earlier this month on Instagram claiming that he did not want to be included on the six-person shortlist as he is the “people’s champion”.

The BBC have continued to include Fury’s name alongside the other contenders for this year’s award, which features seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton, Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson, jockey Hollie Doyle, snooker world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan and cricketer Stuart Broad.

The broadcaster also confirmed that they would not remove Fury from the shortlist, with a vote during this Sunday’s ceremony set to decide the winner of the prestigious award.

But Fury revealed on Monday that he has taken further action to try and have himself taken off the shortlist, with his legal team sending a letter to the BBC in an attempt to force their hand.

READ MORE: Tyson Fury speaks out after Anthony Joshua victory

"I have asked nicely in a video to be taken off the list and they decided that they were not going to take me off the list,” Fury said on ITV’s Good Morning Britain.

"So I have had my lawyers send them a letter demanding that I am taken off the list and let's hope they listen and take me off the list."

The BBC initially rejected Fury’s first request, though they have not yet issued a response to his legal letter.

A spokesperson said: "The shortlist is decided by an independent expert panel who choose contenders based on their sporting achievement in a given year.

"On this basis Tyson Fury will remain on the list for SPOTY 2020. As always the winner will be decided by the public voting during the live show and it is of course up to Tyson if he chooses to participate in the show."

Fury has claimed he is already the ‘people’s champion’

Fury’s previous appearance on the Sports Personality of the Year shortlist caused controversy in 2015 following a string of homophobic, anti-abortion and sexist comments, for which he apologised for during the live ceremony. More than 100,000 people signed a petition calling for Fury to be removed from the award shortlist, but after defeating Wladimir Klitschko to become world heavyweight champion for the first time, Fury finished in fourth with more than 70,000 people voting for him - behind Andy Murray, Kevin Sinfield and Jessica Ennis-Hill.

Fury was omitted in 2018 despite his draw against Deontay Wilder in their first world heavyweight contest, a decision that then-trainer Ben Davison labelled “a shame” for the award, but he has returned to recognition from the BBC after defeating the American in their rematch in February this year.

The WBC champion is set to take on WBA, IBF and WBO world champion Anthony Joshua in two blockbuster fights this year after the latter defeated Kubrat Pulev on Saturday night, with talks expected to reach a conclusion this week over a date and venue for one of the most anticipated boxing fights in British history.

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