Saturday 18 November 2017

Carl Frampton slams 'anti-Northern Ireland' BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards after snub

Carl Frampton became a two-weight world champion in July
Carl Frampton became a two-weight world champion in July

Jonny Bell

Carl Frampton has blasted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year "anti-Northern Ireland" after he missed out on the extended shortlist for this year's award.

The history-making Belfast fighter said either he or fellow Northern Ireland champions, Superbike title holder Jonathan Rea or Paralympian Bethany Firth should have made the shortlist, which was increased given the past Olympic year.

The 29-year-old was speaking on the BBC Stephen Nolan radio show on Tuesday morning following the announcement on Monday night.

He said: "I think there are people on the shortlist that I deserve to be in front of.

"Credit to Andy Murray he deserves it and should run away with it.

"But I think of at least one of Jonny Rea, Bethany Firth and myself should have been on it."

Asked what he thought the reasons were behind his omission, he responded: "It looks to me, maybe anti-boxing, maybe anti-Northern Ireland.

"There's five Yorkshiremen on it."

Jonathan Rea this year celebrated winning back-to-back World Superbike titles. Bethany Firth was the most decorated athlete in Rio winning three golds and a silver in Rio. She missed out ahead of three other Paralympians.

Of the 16 shortlisted - the biggest shortlist in the award's history - only two are from outside England. Scotland's world tennis number one Andy Murray and Real Madrid and Wales footballer Gareth Bale.

And only Bale and Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy are the only non-Olympians or Paralympians on the list.

Frampton said he was convinced if he was English he would be on the list.

He said: "I think they look favourably toward them.

"Take Nicola Adams she has had an incredible achievement this year. And if she made the list, then I think I should have been in with a shout."

Frampton said he was "slightly disappointed" with missing out on a nomination.

He added: "I unified a title, defended a title and beat a three-weight champion, and all on the road.

"But I'll not complain, I wasn't picked for whatever reason, maybe they didn't have the space."

Frampton takes on Leo Santa Cruz in a WBA Super World Featherweight title rematch next year in Las Vegas. Previously he unified the WBA and IBF super-bantamweight titles.

He described the city and the MGM Grand venue as the "pinnacle" of boxing.

And despite the event being just three hours from Santa Cruz's home, the Jackal's support "will take over".

In response the BBC highlighted that the award was held in Belfast last year and boxer Nicola Adams is in this year's shortlist.

In a statement, the corporation said: "In what has been an extraordinary year of sport, many contenders were considered and debated by an expert industry panel, who by consensus agreed on the shortlist."

Belfast Telegraph

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