Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford will receive a ‘Panel Special Award’ as part of the 2020 BBC Sports Personality of the Year celebration, recognising his enormous off-field work in fighting child food poverty in the UK and forcing the government to take action.
Rashford will not be in line for the main Sports Personality of the Year award, but will be the first ever recipient of the gong he is in line to receive - suggesting it has been created just for him.
Even though the 23-year-old enjoyed a strong season with United in 2019/20 and the BBC’s own guidelines acknowledge that the winner of the Sports Personality of the Year must have ‘captured the UK public's imagination’ and made an impact ‘beyond the sport in question’, the corporation are sticking firmly to the notion of solely ‘sporting achievement’.
The shortlist for the main Sports Personality of the Year award, which was won by cricketer Ben Stokes in 2019, will be released closer to the ceremony on 20 December.
As well as honouring Rashford in a different way, the BBC will also air a documentary about the England international, while he has additionally been named on the annual ‘Football Black List’, which highlight positive influencers in the football industry.
Other names on the 2020 list include Wilfried Zaha, Troy Deeney, Micah Richards, Eniola Aluko, journalist Carl Anka, broadcaster Jessica Creighton and West Ham director Nathan Thompson.
The ‘Special Panel Award’ Rashford will receive does not appear to be the same as the 'Special Achievement Award' it was previously reported he might be presented with. That accolade has only been handed out five times in the past, the most recent in 2009 when comedian Eddie Izzard ran 43 marathons in 51 days to raise money for Sport Relief.
Lord Sebastian Coe received a Special Gold Award in 2005 for his work in London’s successful bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games and received a Lifetime Achievement Award later that year.