Jonathan Rea’s omission from BBC Sports Personality of the Year shortlist to be raised in Parliament

Superbike champion Jonathan Rea’s omission from the BBC Sports Personality of the Year shortlist is to be raised in Parliament by an MP who feels Northern Ireland’s sporting heritage does not get the recognition it deserves.

Friday, 4th December 2020, 2:45 pm
Jonathan Rea won the World Superbike Championship for a record sixth time at Estoril in Portugal.

MP for South Antrim Paul Girvan will be writing to the director general of the BBC, Tim Davie, as well as raising the matter in Parliament.

Rea was nominated for the 2017 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award, finishing in second place, but did not make the shortlist this year. In the same year he received an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to motorcycling racing.

In his letter to the director general, Mr Girvan comments: “This prestigious award celebrates the high level of achievement that British sport has enjoyed in 2020 and showcases the highest level of achievement of our nation’s sporting competition.

“With this in mind I was greatly shocked that Jonathan Rea MBE was omitted from the final shortlist. Mr Rea, a native of the constituency I am honoured to represent in Parliament, won the World Superbike championship for the sixth time, winning all of his championships consecutively. By doing so Jonathan Rea has cemented himself as the single most successful motorsport competitor that our nation has seen in the last decade, breaking numerous records in one of the most competitive sports in the world.

“While the six contenders for SPOTY this year have accomplished incredible feats, I do not wish to diminish their achievements, Jonathan Rea’s triumphs this calendar year, along with his attitude to his sport and his community put him at the very pinnacle of this nation’s sporting greats.”

He stated: “Northern Ireland has produced some of the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen that the UK has seen. Our sporting heritage however seldom comes with the recognition it deserves.”

Mr Girvan has co-sponsored a parliamentary Early Day Motion which states: “That this House congratulates the record breaking World Superbike Champion Jonathan Rea MBE on winning his sixth consecutive World Superbike title; recognises his remarkable achievement as the most successful rider in the history of the championship; expresses shock and dismay at Jonathan Rea MBE being excluded from the BBC Sports Personality of the Year shortlist for 2020; and calls on the BBC to reconsider this unjustified exclusion, to afford the public the opportunity to vote in recognition of his success this year, and his status as the greatest Superbike rider of all time.”

On Wednesday morning Mr Girvan also intends to raise the matter in Parliament during NIO Questions.