The BBC is preparing for the possibility three of the biggest names on its shortlist for sports personality of the year, including Lewis Hamilton, are likely to miss the awards ceremony.
Hamilton is the second favourite for the prize behind Anthony Joshua but the BBC has been warned he is highly unlikely to attend the ceremony in Liverpool on 17 December. It is understood Chris Froome and Mo Farah are also unable to attend the event at the Echo Arena.
Organisers have been assured Joshua, the overwhelming frontrunner for the trophy following his world title victory over Wladimir Klitschko, will collect the award in person. But they have been forced to arrange a contingency video link should Hamilton, Farah, or Froome finish in the top three.
Hamilton, who won in 2014, is up for the award after the Mercedes driver became the Formula One champion for the fourth time when he won the Mexican Grand Prix in October.
Froome, who was nominated in recognition of his fourth Tour de France victory, has told the BBC he is almost certain to miss the ceremony because he will be on a warm weather training camp in Mallorca. To fly over would disrupt his preparation for the Giro d’Italia next year.
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It had been hoped Farah would be at the ceremony after relocating to Britain from the west coast of America to concentrate on training for the London Marathon. The Farah family are still in the process of moving and it is thought family commitments may prevent the four-times Olympic champion from attending.
The 34-year-old has made no secret that he is not a huge fan of the award after repeatedly missing out on the podium. He admitted finding it “weird” he again was not in the top three last year despite winning double gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Farah, who won 10,000m gold and 5,000m silver at the London world championships in August in his final races before retiring from track racing, has struggled to understand why he has not been recognised.
“Yeah, you do think a little bit like, what can you do?” he said last year. “But racing and winning medals for my country is what drives me and no one can take away what I have achieved. That means more than anything else, along with putting my GB vest on.”