Despite the public support he received for his humanitarian efforts during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, Manchester United striker, Marcus Rashford has missed out on the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award (SPOTY) shortlist.
However, the England star will be given a specially-created award for his efforts to end child food poverty.
The main award is based on the sporting achievement of an athlete. According to Sportsmail, it emerged four weeks ago that the England forward and anti-poverty campaigner will be overlooked for the main award because it must be based on ‘sporting achievement’.
The last couple of months I’ve been working on a documentary to showcase the devastating effects of child food poverty in the UK. This is not about me it’s about offering a platform for voices to be heard. We’ve been ignoring the issue for too long, now is the time for change.— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) November 25, 2020
Meanwhile, the SPOTY contenders have not been officially announced. Sportsmail says Rashford has not been included on the shortlist which was decided by a panel of judges last week.
It was gathered that the panel have decided to honour the Manchester United striker’s efforts to end child food poverty with a new ‘Panel Special Award’.
“The Premier League striker is set to be honoured at this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year with a Special Award on December 20, awarded on behalf of the shortlisting panel in recognition of his exceptional impact outside of his sport.
‘The Sports Personality of the Year judging panel unanimously agreed that Marcus’ accomplishments off the pitch this year should be commended,” the BBC also confirmed.
Why Rashford will be given a special award rather than SPOTY award
The chairperson of the 12-person SPOTY panel, Barbara Slater said the Man United star has given a voice to those in need through his initiative.
“Marcus’s endeavour to give a voice to those who find themselves in a situation that he too is familiar with has been greatly admired and the panel wanted to ensure he was recognised for that.
‘In a year that has been challenging for everyone, but particularly vulnerable families, he has gone above and beyond to transcend his sport and make a real difference. This award is a tribute to a remarkable young man.”
Although Rashford had been the odds-on bookies’ favourite to win the main award, it was gathered that he would not be included because of long-standing criteria which state that the shortlist must be selected based on ‘UK sporting achievements on the national and/or international stage.
This led to a nationwide debate about SPOTY with some sports personalities supporting the United star to win the award.
But Beeb bosses won’t be bowing down to public pressure by altering their criteria for the main award. This made them to arrange to honour him in another way.