I wish I was that smart. I just f**ked up. The voting hadn’t even opened at that stage. Apologies. https://t.co/IVHhelQRZJ— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) December 15, 2019
'I just f**ked up' - Lineker apologises after accidentally announcing SPOTY winner
Gary Lineker admitted he “just f**ked up” after accidentally introducing Ben Stokes as the “main award winner” at the Sports Personality of the Year show - an hour before the cricketer was actually crowned.
Lineker made the gaffe as he welcomed cricketers Jason Roy, Eoin Morgan and Stokes onto the stage for a section about England's World Cup win. He then apologised, drawing laughs from the Aberdeen crowd, and clarified that Stokes was a contender and not the winner.
This led some viewers to complain that the award was a fix, but a BBC spokesperson emphasised that the comment had been made before voting had even opened.
“Gary's comment was human error and he corrected himself as soon as possible on air,” they said. “It's impossible for Gary, or anyone else, to know the winner before voting opens.”
The Match of the Day host later took to Twitter to apologise, writing: “I wish I was that smart. I just f**ked up. The voting hadn’t even opened at that stage. Apologies.”
Stokes, 28, claimed the main award, which is voted for by the public, following a stellar year in which he led England to World Cup glory. Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton was second and 200m world champion Dina Asher-Smith third.
After accepting the award, Stokes said: “”Obviously it's an individual award but I play in a team sport and the best thing about that is you get to share special moments with team-mates, backroom staff and management who make days like we had in the summer possible.
“I’m up here receiving this award but without the efforts you put in this summer, I wouldn't up here be doing that. So thank you so much.”
In 2018, the cricketer was cleared of affray charges following an incident outside a Bristol nightclub and added: “Two years ago was a tough time for me in my life. I've had so many people help me through that.”
The England cricket team was named Team of the Year and their World Cup final triumph was voted the Sporting Moment of the Year.