This year’s Sports Personality of the Year award could be without two of the favourites as both Emma Raducanu and Tyson Fury are set to be absent.
The BBC has announced the ceremony will be held on 19th December at Salford’s MediaCity and will celebrate 12 months of sporting action, which featured the Olympics, Euro 2020 and Wimbledon, among other events.
Gary Lineker, Clare Balding, Gabby Logan, and Alex Scott will present the 68th awards in front of a studio audience.
However, a scheduling clash threatens to prevent some of the bookies’ favourites from attending the esteemed event in person.
18-year-old Raducanu became the first qualifier to ever win a tennis Grand Slam in September, after beating Canada’s Leylah Fernandez in straight sets at the US Open.
The win catapulted the teenager up to 22nd in the world rankings –– making her the new British number one.
Having become a new global sensation, Raducanu is widely tipped to win the Sports Personality award, but she is due to be in Abu Dhabi at the time of the live broadcast.
The tennis star has confirmed she’ll play an exhibition event, the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, which runs from December 16th to 18th.
After that, the Brit will likely travel to Australia, ahead of the first major of the year in early 2022.
It is not uncommon for Sports Personality winners to accept their award remotely –– especially in the case of tennis players. Indeed, three-time winner Andy Murray accepted two of his three awards while in Miami, in 2013 and 2016.
Yet, Raducanu is not the only leading contender who could be elsewhere on the night. Heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury made headlines again this year after beating Deontay Wilder to retain his WBC title, but may well boycott the event, as he has done in the past.
The Gypsy King has had a controversial relationship with the award since 2015, after a petition to have him removed from the shortlist for homophobic comments garnered more than 100,000 signatures.
He was also snubbed of a nomination following his first fight with Wilder in 2018, which ended as a draw. The following year, Fury was nominated but demanded to be removed, even involving his legal team.
Aside from Fury and Raducanu, there are still a number of other contenders, including the likes of Tom Daley and Lewis Hamilton.
Daley claimed his first Olympic diving gold medal in Tokyo this year, while Hamilton claimed his 100th Formula 1 victory.
BBC director of sport, Barbara Slater said: "With sporting events getting back to some normality and our teams and athletes achieving great things, this year has been one of the most memorable for many reasons.
"The awards ceremony in Salford will have a lot to reflect on and it's something the whole BBC Sport team are looking forward to delivering."News Now - Sport News