EXCLUSIVE: SPOTY could be midweek to avoid World Cup final clash
EXCLUSIVE: BBC Sports Personality of the Year is likely to move to midweek for the first time in 40 years to avoid clashing with the World Cup final – with host Gary Lineker and the England squad still hoping to be in Qatar when the prize is awarded!
- The annual awards show has been held on a Sunday every year since 1982
- But this year, it would clash with the World Cup final in Qatar on December 18
- Host Gary Lineker would also be in Qatar if it was held on that date this year
The BBC are set to move Sports Personality of the Year from Sunday to midweek for the first time in 40 years to avoid a clash with the World Cup final.
The annual awards show has been held on a Sunday evening in December every year since 1982.
But the winter World Cup has caused Beeb bosses a headache, with the final in Qatar scheduled for December 18 – the date SPOTY would otherwise have been.
This year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards could be moved to a midweek date to accommodate the World Cup final – pictured is Emma Raducanu winning the gong last year
Gareth Southgate and Harry Kane’s England team could be competing in the World Cup final and if so, they will be in line to dominate the ceremony which is held in December
As a result, the legendary programme is set to be pushed back until after the tournament has concluded and instead be held on a midweek night before Christmas.
Although the World Cup final kicks off at 3pm UK time and would finish before SPOTY’s usual 8pm slot, it would have left the show’s producers little time to prepare.
If England were to go the distance, they would be sure to dominate the BBC awards but players and staff would not be able to attend.
Last year, Gareth Southgate was named Coach of the Year and the Three Lions won Team of the Year following their run to the Euro 2020 final.
Southgate was also awarded Coach of the Year in 2018 after England reached the World Cup semi-final in Russia, while captain and Golden Boot winner Harry Kane was voted third for the main prize.
England manager Southgate won the Coach of the Year award at last year’s ceremony
Ronnie O’Sullivan is the early favourite to win the award later this year off the back of his record-equalling seventh world snooker title
Star SPOTY host Gary Lineker would also be in Qatar if the BBC stuck with its traditional pre-Christmas Sunday slot, while TV viewing figures could be affected by people gathering together to watch the World Cup.
While SPOTY has always been on a Sunday since the 1980s, the first time the award was handed out in 1954 it was on a Thursday. It remained a midweek programme for 20 years.
The last two SPOTY shows have been held at a studio in Salford without a live audience because of Covid-19 restrictions. But this year’s event should return to an arena setting, although a venue has not yet been announced.
Ronnie O’Sullivan is the current bookmakers’ favourite to win the main award after he collected his record-equalling seventh world snooker title last week.
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