Boycott axed by BBC over assault charge

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The Independent Online
Boycott axed by BBC over assault charge

Geoffrey Boycott has been dropped as a cricket commentator by the BBC pending the outcome of his appeal against a conviction for assaulting his former girlfriend.

A former Test player and prominent pundit, Boycott was expected to play a substantial role in the BBC's radio output during England's winter Test series against the West Indies, which starts this week with the first Test in Jamaica.

But the BBC have reviewed their position following Boycott's conviction - in his absence - in a French court, which fined him 50,000 francs (pounds 5,100) and gave him a three-month suspended prison sentence for punching Margaret Moore during a stay in Antibes in October 1996.

Boycott, 57, who captained Yorkshire and is one of cricket's leading all-time run-scorers, is still likely to figure - in sound, if not vision - in BBC Television's recorded Test match highlights.

These are edited from Trans World International's live production, which is broadcast live on Sky Sports.

But a BBC statement has made it clear he will be dropped from the station's Test Match Special live commentary, to be broadcast on Radio 4.

The statement read: "While legal proceedings are still pending, the BBC feel it would be inappropriate for Geoffrey Boycott to appear on the BBC.

"We understand TWI will continue to employ him as one of their team of commentators, providing edited highlights of the West Indies Test matches to BBC TV."

Boycott has repeatedly denied the charge that he hit Ms Moore more than 20 times. In a bravura performance at a press conference in London last week he defended his honour in front of a crowd of reporters baying for his blood.

He claimed there had been a tussle in their hotel room and, after Ms Moore threatened to throw herself out of the window, she slipped and banged her head. He added that she wanted "to destroy" him because he would not marry her.

Boycott has proclaimed himself ready to take a lie-detector test to prove his innocence.