The BBC has revealed it would review whether Scotland’s sports stars should be allowed to win its prestigious Sports Personality of the Year Award if the country voted for independence this week.
The corporation confirmed it would consider rewriting the eligibility criteria for the prize in the event of a ‘Yes’ vote in Thursday’s referendum, which could mean the likes of last year’s winner, Andy Murray, being barred from consideration in future.
Current rules prohibit anyone who is not a citizen of the UK being nominated for the award unless they live or work mainly in Britain. Were that to remain the case, Scots living south of the border – such as Murray – would still qualify for the prize, but those residing in a newly-independent Scotland would not.
The BBC will therefore consider whether to change that rule, either to allow all Scots to be eligible or banning them – and potentially other non-UK born residents – from consideration.
A spokesperson said: “We would review eligibility next year in the light of the result of the Scottish referendum.”
Any changes would not affect Scotland until it went independent in 2016, meaning Murray and his compatriots will definitely remain eligible when Glasgow hosts the lavish annual ceremony in December.
Murray’s Wimbledon triumph made him the fifth Scot to land the BBC prize during its 60-year lifetime. Barry McGuigan is the only non-Briton to win it, the Irish boxer having done so in 1985, although New Zealander Barry Briggs twice finished runner-up in the 1960s.
The BBC must also decide whether Scottish teams – such as Celtic, Rangers or Scotland national sides – should remain eligible for its Team of the Year award in the event of independence.