Sportsmail revealed four weeks ago that the England forward and anti-poverty campaigner was set to be overlooked for the main award because it must be based on ‘sporting achievement’.
And while the SPOTY contenders are not officially announced until next week, Sportsmail understands that Rashford has not been included on the shortlist which was decided by a panel of judges last week.
Marcus Rashford will be given a specially-created award after missing out on the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year shortlist
In an attempt to avoid a public backlash, the panel have instead decided to honour the Manchester United striker’s efforts to end child food poverty with a new ‘Panel Special Award’.
The BBC confirmed: ‘The Premier League striker is set to be honoured at this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year with a Special Award on December 20, awarded on behalf of the shortlisting panel in recognition of his exceptional impact outside of his sport.
‘The Sports Personality of the Year judging panel unanimously agreed that Marcus’ accomplishments off the pitch this year should be commended.’
He will be honoured for his work to end child food poverty with a new ‘Panel Special Award’
Barbara Slater, who chaired the 12-person SPOTY panel, added: ‘Marcus’s endeavour to give a voice to those who find themselves in a situation that he too is familiar with has been greatly admired and the panel wanted to ensure he was recognised for that.
‘In a year that has been challenging for everyone, but particularly vulnerable families, he has gone above and beyond to transcend his sport and make a real difference. This award is a tribute to a remarkable young man.’
Rashford had been the odds-on bookies’ favourite to win the main award until Sportsmail revealed he would not be included because of long-standing criteria stating the shortlist must be selected based on ‘UK sporting achievements on the national and/or international stage’.
Our story caused a nationwide debate about SPOTY and even the show’s host, Gary Lineker, told Sportsmail that the 23-year-old ‘would be a very worth winner’.
The growing support for Rashford had become a ‘political hot potato’ for the BBC, according to insiders.
Sportsmail revealed in October that Rashford was set to miss out on the main BBC award
However, Beeb bosses have resisted bowing down to public pressure and altering their criteria for the main award – opting instead to honour him in another way, as Sportsmail also suggested they would last month.
As well as the Panel Special Award, the BBC will also air a special access-all-areas documentary about Rashford’s campaign on December 21 – the night after the SPOTY show from the studios in Salford.
Lewis Hamilton is now the overwhelming bookies’ favourite to claim the prestigious SPOTY prize for just the second time, having won his record-equalling seventh Formula One world title.
Other contenders include world heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury and world snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan.
As well as BBC boss Slater, the judging panel for this year’s SPOTY included Sportsmail columnist and ex-Manchester City star Micah Richards, Paralympic athlete Stef Reid and ex-snooker player John Parrott.
The rest of the panel was made up of sports broadcasters Isa Guha and Eilidh Barbour; the CEO of Sport Wales, Sarah Powell; sports editors – Les Snowden (The Times), Alison Kervin (Mail on Sunday) and Shaun Custis (The Sun); and BBC chiefs Philip Bernie, the head of TV sport, and Carl Doran, the show’s executive editor.