England’s cricketers have issued an apology for any offense caused during their celebrations of their Ashes series win over Australia at The Oval on Sunday.
The statement, released on the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) Web site, followed allegations that England players urinated on the pitch hours after the series had ended on Sunday night in a 3-0 win for the home side.
“The England cricket team would like to state that during our celebrations after winning the Ashes at no time was there any intention to disrespect Surrey CCC, The Oval or anyone else involved in the game we love,” the statement on the Web site read.
“As a team we pride ourselves on respecting all things cricket including the opposition and the grounds we play at. We got carried away amongst the euphoria of winning such a prestigious series and accept that some of our behaviour was inappropriate,” it said.
“If that has caused any offence to anyone we apologise for that and want to reassure people that it was a simple error of judgement more than anything else,” the statement said.
The allegations arose following eye-witness accounts from Australian journalists, who were still in the ground while England celebrated their win.
Reports have since indicated the ECB has launched an investigation into the matter after being contacted by Surrey chief executive Richard Gould.
British Minister for Sport Hugh Robertson has even been drawn into commenting, telling the Daily Telegraph: “If it happened, it’s not good behaviour.”
Off-spinner Graeme Swann appeared to confirm the story when writing in Tuesday’s Sun newspaper, but attempted to play it down.
“We did go out to the middle of the pitch, all the lads, drinking beers, singing a few songs and enjoying each other’s company,” he wrote.
“I think the call of nature might have come once or twice but it was nothing untoward,” he said. “It was midnight, a private celebration in the middle of the pitch and the ground was dark.”