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Watch: NI First Minister Calls Carl Frampton SPOTY Snub 'Absolutely Scandalous'

Watch: NI First Minister Calls Carl Frampton SPOTY Snub 'Absolutely Scandalous'
By Conall Cahill Updated

There has been outrage in the Northern Ireland Assembly that boxer Carl Frampton was snubbed for the 'BBC Sports Personality of the Year' shortlist.

Northern Ireland is a place that is deeply proud of its sportspeople. In the same way that it is proud of its writers, musicians and anyone else who is a positive global representation of that small, unique part of the world.

Rory McIlroy. Rory Best. In the past Alex Higgins, George Best, Dennis Taylor. These are just a few of the sportspeople who are held in huge regard anywhere they go in Northern Ireland. And if Carl Frampton wasn't already on that list, he certainly is now after a 2016 in which he won two world titles in separate weight categories.

So it perhaps isn't overly surprising that the Northern Ireland Assembly aren't happy that Frampton was left out of the shortlist for the 'BBC Sports Personality of the Year' award.

No one from Northern Ireland was included on the list, which according to the 'Belfast Telegraph' Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster called "absolutely scandalous" due to its exclusion of Frampton. She also criticised exclusions for Paralympic swimmer Bethany Firth and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Michael McGovern, "that man from Fermanagh who did sterling work for the Northern Ireland team during the Euros." Nigel Dodds, from the same DUP party as Foster, used his position as an MP to speak out in the House of Commons against what he called the BBC's "London-centric, anti-regional approach".

As for Frampton himself, he said that the award was "maybe anti-boxing, maybe anti-Northern Ireland", echoing the views of his country's elected leaders.

The issue even found its way onto popular political show 'The View', which featured clips from Foster, Dodds and Frampton as well as Frampton's manager Barry McGuigan, a fellow world champion in his own right. Michael O'Neill, the country's football manager, is also included.

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The issue seems to run deeper than just sport here - it is more about Northern Ireland feeling slightly unloved by those in London and at times maybe unfairly treated. There is the lingering feeling that since the days when Secretary of State for Northern Ireland was seen as a poisoned chalice for prospective British cabinet members, the country still hasn't found a place in the hearts of those who run Britain or its establishments. This 'snub' stings due to the sense in Northern Ireland that if Frampton was from London he would have been a shoo-in for the list.

SEE ALSO: Carl Frampton's Camp Were Absolutely Furious At His Exclusion From SPOTY Shortlist

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