Former England opener Sir Geoffrey Boycott has said "I don't give a toss" about the criticism to his knighthood from a leading domestic violence charity, Women's Aid.
After he was conferred with the knighthood by former UK Prime Minister Theresa May in her resignation honours list, Women's Aid said the honour "sends out a dangerous message" as Boycott was convicted for assaulting his then-girlfriend Margaret Moore in 1998.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4 Today programme presenter Martha Kearney, Boycott lambasted Adina Claire, the co-acting chief executive of Women’s Aid.
“Twenty-five years ago, love. In a French court, she (Moore) tried to blackmail me for £1m. I said no, because in England if you pay any money at all, we think: ‘Hang on, there must be something there.’ I said: ‘I’m not paying anything’ … I’m not sure I’d actually got a million at the time.
“It’s a court case in France where you’re guilty, which is one of the reasons I (didn’t) vote to remain in Europe – because you’re guilty until you’re proved innocent.
“That’s totally the opposite from England and it’s very difficult to prove you’re innocent in another country and another language.
“Most people in England don’t believe it. I didn’t do it. Move on. It’s a cross I have to bear, right or wrong, good or bad, I have to live with it.
“And I do, because I’m clear in my mind and I think most people in England are that it’s not true.”
“I don’t care a toss about her, love. It was 25 years ago. You can take your political nature and do whatever you want with it.
“You want to talk to me about my knighthood. It’s very nice of you to have me, but I couldn’t give a toss.
“This is just recognition of my cricket. (It’s) very nice, very honoured, thankful to Theresa May and I thank all the people that supported me and cared for me throughout my cricketing career.”
It is pertinent to mention here that Boycott was fined £5,000 and given a three-month suspended prison sentence for assaulting Moore. However, he has always denied the charges, maintaining his girlfriend’s injuries were sustained in an accidental fall.
Recalling that entire incident, Claire had said celebrating Boycott sent a message that domestic abuse “is not taken seriously as a crime”
“Celebrating a man who was convicted for assaulting his partner sends a dangerous message – that domestic abuse is not taken seriously as a crime,” she had said.
“With increasing awareness of domestic abuse, and a domestic abuse bill ready to be taken forward by government, it is extremely disappointing that a knighthood has been recommended for Geoffrey Boycott, who is a convicted perpetrator of domestic abuse.”