Geoffrey Boycott was considered as one of England's best batsman during his 18-year playing career. In 108 Tests, he made 8114 runs for England and later turned into a respected commentator. Boycott is also one of the few players to have hit over 100 First Class centuries and he was well known for his obdurate defence and outspoken views. His achievements recently resulted in his being knighted for his services by former British Prime Minister Theresa May. Along with Boycott, former England captain and director of cricket operations Andrew Strauss was also knighted. However, Boycott's knighthood has received plenty of criticism owing to an old domestic violence case in France in 1998.
Boycott was severely criticised by UK's senior female MP Harriet Harman, who asked for a review of the "baffling decision to honour a man who was convicted in a French court in 1996 for assaulting his then-girlfriend, Margaret Moore". Boycott, who was fined 5,000 pound and handed a three-month suspended jail sentence for the incident at a French hotel in 1996, was knighted in May's resignation honours list and has vehemently denied the charge.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Boycott was unfazed by the criticism and said that he "didn't give a toss" about criticism from anti-domestic abuse campaigners, including Adina Claire, the co-acting chief executive of Women's Aid, who described his honour as "extremely disappointing".
"I don't give a toss about her (Claire), 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. Twenty-five years ago, love, in a French court, she tried to blackmail me for 1million pound. 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," Boycott said.
Boycott also revealed why he had voted for the United Kingdom to exit the European Union. "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," Boycott said.