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Friday 27 January 2023 Dublin: 6°C
Mike Egerton/PA Images Geoffrey Boycott attending the Ashes in London last month
# Geoffrey Boycott
Ex-English cricketer says knighthood nomination 'soured' by calls for removal over domestic abuse charge
Geoffrey Boycott was nominated for a knighthood for services to sport this week.

FORMER ENGLAND CRICKETER Geoffrey Boycott has said that calls to remove his knighthood over his conviction for domestic violence have “soured” the experience for him.

Domestic abuse charities in the UK have called for Boycott not to be awarded the honour because of the conviction, which he received for assaulting an ex-girlfriend in 1998.

Boycott – who played for England between 1964 and 1982 – was fined 50,000 francs and given a three-month suspended prison sentence after being convicted of assaulting Margaret Moore at a hotel in France in 1998.

According to BBC, a trial heard that Boycott pinned Moore down in a hotel room and punched her in the face 20 times before checking out and leaving her to pay the bill.

Boycott has always denied the charges, and during the trial claimed that Moore slipped after flying into a rage when he refused to marry her.

He also claimed that he left the hotel after “becoming sick and tired” of telling Moore that he would not marry her.

Boycott was put forward for a knighthood by former Prime Minister Theresa May in her resignation honours list this week.

The 78-year-old was nominated for services to sport after amassing 8,114 Test runs at an average of 47.72 during his 18-year England career.

Following his nomination, domestic violence campaigners said that bestowing him with the honour would sent out a dangerous message to survivors of domestic abuse.

During an interview with BBC Radio 4′s Today programme, Women’s Aid’s co-acting chief executive Adina Claire said that the honour “should be taken away” from Boycott.

Boycott told the same programme that he “couldn’t give a toss” about Claire and that his conviction happened 25 years ago, while also claiming that Moore had brought the case in an attempt to blackmail him for £1,000,000.

Many felt his comments were an indication that he did not care about domestic violence.

In a subsequent interview with BBC, Boycott said his knighthood had should have been one of the nicest days of his life, but that the experience was “soured” by BBC Radio 4 because the station had sought to “make publicity” out of his conviction.

“When I went on, this lady interviewer started on about my case in France that happened over nearly 25 years ago… I answered it the best I could,” he said.

“And then she wanted to go on to get a woman on to talk about domestic violence, the chief executive of [Women's Aid].

“I said: ‘Hang on I don’t give a toss about her [Women's Aid co-leader Adina Claire] love.’ I didn’t say: ‘I don’t give a toss about domestic violence’, because that’s very important.”

When challenged by the interviewer that his comments made it appear that he didn’t care about domestic violence, Boycott said:

You only make it out if you want to lie and distort it. Go and read the words. I’ve watched it two or three times.

Boycott is one of 57 people to be nominated for honours by Theresa May following her departure from 10 Downing Street, something every prime minister can do when they step down.

He is one of May’s sporting heroes and the former British Prime Minister spoke of her admiration for his style of play on several occasions.

May, who stepped down as Prime Minister earlier this year, previously said that she had baked Boycott a batch of chocolate brownies and joked that the former Yorkshire batsman still had the Tupperware box she delivered them in.

During Brexit negotiations last year, she also paid tribute to Boycott while defending her stance during a tough negotiating period.

“Can I just say that you might recall from previous comments I have made about cricket that one of my cricket heroes was always Geoffrey Boycott,” she said.

“And what did you know about Geoffrey Boycott? Geoffrey Boycott stuck to it and he got the runs in the end.”

In his interview with BBC Radio 4 following his nomination, Boycott spoke of his support for Brexit, suggesting that the circumstances surrounding his conviction were a factor in him voting for Britain to leave the European Union during the 2016 Brexit referendum.

“It’s a court case in France where you’re guilty, which is one reason I don’t vote to remain in Europe,” he said.

“You’re guilty until you’re proven innocent, that’s totally the opposite to England… most people in England don’t believe it.”

The row over Boycott’s nomination for a knighthood is not the first time the former cricketer has attracted controversy over the UK’s honours list.

In 2017, he was forced to apologise after joking that he would have to “black up” to receive a knighthood, pointing out that the honour had been bestowed on West Indian cricketers including Viv Richards, Garfield Sobers and Curtly Ambrose.

With reporting from - © AFP 2019.

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