Members of the Parliamentary Rugby League Group have supported calls for a boycott of the Sports Personality of the Year award, after the omission of Sam Burgess from the ten stars nominated for the award.
The boycott was raised by Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland, Chairman of the UK Parliamentary Rugby League Group during a meeting of the Group and in a motion tabled in the House of Commons. The motion recognises the role Burgess played in the England team during the Rugby League World Cup 2013 and throughout the 2014 NRL season.
In an email to Parliamentary colleagues in the Parliamentary Rugby League Group, Mulholland wrote “The UK produces outstanding athletes across a wide range of sports and I am sure it is a challenge to create a shortlist. But the sad thing is, it comes as no surprise that the BBC has failed to recognise one of the world’s best rugby league players in Sam Burgess.
“Sam is a genuine star and one of the greatest rugby league players to have ever played the ball. Quite rightly, he has accolades showered upon him in Australia and wherever rugby league receives fair media coverage. But in his home country, he is a relative unknown. He is no different to the shortlisted footballer Gareth Bale in that he plays his domestic sport in a country outside of the UK.
“On behalf of the Group, I have written to the BBC Director General and I call on all rugby league fans to do the same. I also encourage all to boycott the Sport Personality of the Year vote unless Sam is rightly included.”
The motion, incidentally, can be viewed here, on the official Parliamentary RL Group website.