England vow to protect stars after Morgan caught in blackmail row

Ross McLean
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Morgan was subject of an alleged blackmail bid
CRICKET chiefs have vowed to prevent England’s World Cup bid being blown off course by external factors after one-day skipper Eoin Morgan was yesterday the subject of an alleged extortion plot.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) say they were contacted by an Australian man, the boyfriend of a woman Morgan had a brief relationship with five years ago, demanding £35,000 to prevent explicit messages and videos being released to the press.

ECB officials Down Under are said to have approached the man in question after consultation with police, although no further action against him is to be sought at this stage.

“My job is to ensure that the players have the optimum opportunity to prepare and play cricket for England, both in the tri-series matches and the upcoming World Cup,” said ECB managing director Paul Downton.“We will not allow anyone to distract the players or the England captain.”

The individual, named as Nick Emery, insists he did not intend to commit blackmail. The demands were made just hours before the start of England’s clash with Australia, which was due to get underway early this morning.