Boycott's wife rounds on knighthood critics

·2 min read

London (AFP) - The wife of England cricket great Geoffrey Boycott has defended her husband from critics "wrongly crucifying" him for a domestic abuse conviction in France as the former opening batsman received a knighthood at Buckingham Palace on Friday.

The often outspoken Boycott, who has forged a successful career as a cricket broadcaster since the end of his playing days, declined to speak to reporters following the ceremony.

But the former Yorkshire and England captain appeared to be in good spirits after receiving his award from Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne.

Boycott was included in the resignation honours list submitted by Theresa May, the former British Prime Minister, last year.

But the decision by cricket fan May to nominate one of her childhood heroes was controversial given Boycott's conviction for domestic abuse, with assault victim Margaret Moore calling on him to return the honour.

Boycott, 79, was convicted in a French court in 1998 of beating Moore, his former girlfriend, in a Riviera hotel.

But he has repeatedly denied the offence, saying Moore had put a "stain on my name", with Boycott continually insisting her injuries were the result of an accidental fall.

Facing renewed criticism when it was announced he was to receive a knighthood last year, Boycott said he "couldn't give a toss" and attacked the credibility of the French legal system.

Prior to Friday's ceremony, Rachael Boycott, the celebrated cricketer's wife, reportedly wrote to MPs and domestic violence charities asking them to consider that her husband may have been the victim of a miscarriage of justice.

The Daily Telegraph, a British newspaper that carries a regular cricket column from Boycott, reported her as saying: "Just stop for a minute and consider has there ever been a miscarriage of justice?

"Could you be wrongly crucifying a good man? Could he actually be telling the truth?"

But Dominique Haumant, the now-retired French judge who sentenced Boycott, had previously told the Guardian: "If I didn't think he was guilty I wouldn't have convicted him."

Boycott was fined £5,000 ($6,520, 6,013 euros) and given a three-month suspended prison sentence over the assault.