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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

Cricket great Geoffrey Boycott apologises for "face blacking" slur

Batsman turned commentator issues Twitter apology for "unacceptable" outburst after saying that West Indian players were more likely to secure knighthoods

Geoffrey Boycott apologised for his comments about West Indies players as England hosted them in a three Test series. Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs
Geoffrey Boycott apologised for his comments about West Indies players as England hosted them in a three Test series. Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

The BBC said it would continue to employ the former England cricketer Geoffrey Boycott as a pundit despite his “unacceptable comments” about West Indian cricketers.

The former batsman, 76, said that knighthoods were handed out like confetti to former West Indian players and he would have a better chance of receiving an honour if he “blacked his face”.

Mr Boycott later went on Twitter to say that the comments made during a public event attended by some 200 people were “clearly wrong” and unacceptable and he issued an unreserved apology.

He added that he had the utmost respect for West Indian players.

A BBC spokesperson said that he had “rightly apologised” for “clearly unacceptable comments” but would remain part of its radio commentary team.

He is well-known for his trenchant views on the game, based on a long playing career as one of the England’s best opening batsmen, but has been at the centre of a series of controversies as both player and commentator.

Mr Boycott was previously sacked as a pundit for the BBC after he was convicted of assaulting a former girlfriend in France in 1998.

The conviction – upheld after an appeal – has been previously cited as the reason why he has not received a knighthood.

Honours are decided by the government twice a year with investiture ceremonies carried out by members of the royal family.