• BBC give special Diamond Award to recognise achievements
• 'He's earned respect of so many inside and outside of football'
He famously refused to speak to the BBC for seven years, but that will not stop Sir Alex Ferguson adding to his haul of honours with a special "Diamond Award" at Sunday night's Sports Personality of the Year show in Leeds.
Since announcing his retirement in May, Ferguson has remained a highly visible presence with the release of his autobiography and his role as a Manchester United director, even as his successor, David Moyes, has struggled to adapt to life at Old Trafford. Having already handed Ferguson a lifetime achievement award in 2001, two years after his Manchester United side won the treble in dramatic fashion, the BBC has come up with an ingenious solution to honour his contribution to British football. Given that Sports Personality is celebrating its 60th year, it has come up with a special Diamond Award to mark the occasion.
The BBC director of sport, Barbara Slater, said Ferguson, who won 38 trophies during his 26 years in charge at Old Trafford, was a worthy recipient of the special prize.
"Sir Alex Ferguson's achievements are unique," she said. "We want to honour and recognise this by celebrating his final incredible year as a manager with this special award. Sir Alex won the lifetime achievement award in 2001 after claiming some of the most sought-after trophies in the football world. The fact that his success continued for a further decade and more afterwards makes his achievements all the more remarkable. He is someone who has earned the respect of so many both in and outside of football, regardless of their footballing allegiances."
Ferguson, who sealed his 13th league title in May in a fitting dénouement to his managerial career, ended his seven-year BBC boycott in 2011. He had refused to speak to the BBC after it refused to apologise for a 2004 documentary that featured his son Jason, who was then an agent.
Andy Murray is the shortest-priced favourite in the award's history, having ended the 77-year wait for a British winner of the Wimbledon men's singles. He will appear at the First Direct Arena via satellite, however, as he is at training camp in Florida and recovering from surgery.