Marcus Rashford is reportedly set to be snubbed from the BBC Sports Personality of the Year shortlist, despite being the bookies’ favourite to win the prize.
Rashford, the Manchester United and England forward, had been backed to win the annual award in December following his free school meals campaign.
Despite his high-profile and popular campaign, Rashford is set to miss out on the shortlist.
According to the Daily Mail, the 22-year-old will be left out due to long-standing criteria for the award which state the shortlist must reflect ‘sporting achievements’.
With Manchester United finishing third in the Premier League and failing to win a trophy, Rashford risks falling short of the criteria.
A panel will meet next month to decide the shortlist and it remains possible that the criteria could change, although it has been set in stone for several years.
The shortlist is typically announced at the end of November but it hasn’t always been the case.
In 2018, the shortlist was only revealed on the night of the programme and it’s thought a similar approach could be adopted in an attempt to avoid a long-running debate about Rashford.
There is awareness among BBC chiefs that they risk public backlash if Rashford is not honoured in some form and they will look to include him during the show.
He could be in contention for the Helen Rollason Award – handed out for ‘outstanding achievement in the face of adversity’ or a new prize could be created.
Boxer Tyson Fury, who defeated Deontay Wilder in February to become the WBO heavyweight world champion, and snooker player Ronnie O’Sullivan, who won the World Championships for a sixth time, are also in the mix for the top prize.
The awards show takes place in Salford on December 20.