Tyson Fury's place on SPOTY shortlist makes a mockery of BBC award - campaigner

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Tyson Fury continues to court controversy after a campaigner who started a petition to have him removed from the BBC Sports Personality shortlist said the boxer's continued inclusion is "making a mockery" of the award.

The BBC has so far stood firm over his place on the 12-person list, but came under increased scrutiny after Fury appeared in an online video in which he says Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill ''slaps up good''.

The new world heavyweight champion is shown in footage on YouTube giving his views on women and says: "A woman's best place is in the kitchen and on her back, that's my personal belief.''

The 27-year-old Briton beat Wladimir Klitschko in Dusseldorf on Saturday night to secure the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight belts.

Fury was quickly installed as one of the favourites to win the BBC's annual Sports Personality award, but has courted controversy in the past and was criticised for airing his views on homosexuality in the lead up to his title shot.

An online petition, set up by LGBT campaigner Scott Cuthbertson, had already collected more than 40,000 signatures demanding he is removed from the list before the latest YouTube video had been widely seen, but the network does not intend to alter the initial selections.

"The Sports Personality shortlist is compiled by a panel of industry experts and is based on an individual's sporting achievement - it is not an endorsement of an individual's personal beliefs either by the BBC or members of the panel," a BBC Spokesperson told Press Association Sport.

Cuthbertson believes the panel are wrong to have included Fury in the first instance and feels they would be embarrassed by reneging on their decision.

"They don't want to go through the humiliation of taking him off the list so they are coming up with any old excuse to keep him on," he told Press Association Sport.

"As more things are coming out, accusation after accusation about homophobia and sexism, it is making a mockery of the BBC and their flagship award."

Fury himself tweeted to say he did not want to win the award, writing: "Hopefully I don't win @BBCSPOTY as I'm not the best roll model in the world for the kids, give it to someone who would appreciate it."

The footage has a publication date of November 25 and, when asked his opinion on women in boxing, Fury focused on the ring girls rather than athletes.

''I like them actually, they give me inspiration, when I'm tired and I see them wiggling around with their round two, round eight...I think women in boxing is very good,'' he said.

''But I believe a woman's best place is in the kitchen and on her back, that's my personal belief. Making me a good cup of tea, that's what I believe.''

Ennis-Hill, who returned to action this year after giving birth and overcoming injury, is also on the 12-person shortlist for the BBC award, which will be handed out in Belfast on December 20.

The panel who selected the dozen candidates includes the director of BBC Sport Barbara Slater, former England international Jermaine Jenas, presenter Hazel Irvine and journalists from the Times, Guardian and Sun.


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