Farah, who successfully defended his 5,000m and 10,000m titles at Rio 2016, is the only Briton on a list which comprises 10 male and 10 female athletes respectively.
At a December ceremony to be held in Monaco, Farah will come up against the likes of Usain Bolt, new 400m world record holder Wayde van Niekerk, and Brazil's shock Olympic pole vault champion Thiago Braz.
The last British athlete to win the award was Paula Radcliffe, who claimed the women's title in 2002, while the last British male to triumph was Jonathan Edwards in 1995.
The full list of nominees is:
MEN: Usain Bolt; Thiago Braz; Ashton Eaton; Mo Farah, Eliud Kipchoge; Conselsus Kipruto; Omar McLeod; David Rudisha; Christian Taylor; Wayde van Niekerk.
WOMEN: Almaz Ayana; Ruth Beitia; Vivian Cheruiyot; Kendra Harrison; Caterine Ibarguen; Ruth Jebet; Sandra Perkovic; Caster Semenya; Elaine Thompson; Anita Wlodarczyk.
PA -- OmRiyadat