SPOTY Betting: Marcus Rashford second favourite after forcing government u-turn

Manchester United's Old Trafford from outside
Manchester United's Rashford is second favourite for SPOTY

England striker Marcus Rashford has been heavily backed in to win SPOTY after his campaign forced the Government to extend free meal vouchers for school children. Max Liu has the details...

"On the Exchange Rashford's SPOTY odds have plummeted and he is now into second in the betting. Tyson Fury 2.89/5 has been favourite ever since his dramatic victory over Deontay Wilder in February."

Marcus Rashford was backed in to as a low as 2.68/5 on the Exchange to win this year's Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) on Tuesday after his campaign to extend free school meal vouchers into the summer holidays forced the government into a spectacular u-turn.

Prior to the launch of the campaign, the Manchester United striker wasn't troubling the SPOTY leaderboard, trading at 100.099/1 on June 11, but as it picked up public support, Rashford was gradually backed in down to 5.79/2 on June 14.

On Tuesday (June 16) morning, Rashford was backed in from 6.25/1 to 2.68/5 joint favourite with Tyson Fury when it emerged the Government had changed its mind on free school meals. At the time of writing, he is 3.185/40.

About 1.3 million children will get free school meal vouchers during the holidays, thanks to the campaign lead by the Manchester United striker.

Rashford wrote an open letter to the government on Monday, asking them to extend the vouchers scheme. He referred to his own experience of relying on free school meals and food banks when he was growing up in Manchester:

The government initially said 'no' but Rashford continued his campaign on Tuesday, urging supporters to keep going and put more pressure on the government via social media.

That paid off, with the government announcing around Tuesday lunchtime that they had listened to Rashford and would extend the scheme into the holidays.

Rashford had expected to be starring for England this summer at Euro 2020. In football's absence, he has committed himself to helping underprivileged children, supporting the homeless and even learning sign language to judge a poetry competition for deaf students.

He earned plaudits for his free school meals campaign, with Labour leader Keir Starmer saying it was a "welcome U-turn" from the government and prime minister Boris Johnson praising Rashford's "contribution to the debate around poverty."

Rashford's odds shorten but Fury still favourite

On the Exchange Rashford's SPOTY odds have plummeted and he is now into second in the betting. Tyson Fury 2.89/5 has been favourite ever since his dramatic victory over Deontay Wilder in February and he remains at the top of the market.

It was announced last week that Fury had struck a two fight deal with fellow British heavyweight Anthony Joshua. Those fights won't take place this year, though, with Fury tied to his trilogy bout with Wilder first.

Rashford, meanwhile, said he was lost for words at the government's u-turn. He will now focus on his football and Manchester United's Friday night match against Tottenham as part of this weekend's Premier League restart.

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