London: His heartfelt apologies notwithstanding, Andrew Flintoff’s drunken night out at the World Cup has forced Unicef to drop the all-rounder from a charity visit to school children in St Lucia as his presence may cause “discomfort” to kids.
According to a report in ‘The Mirror´, Unicef felt Flintoff’s actions had led to intense media focus on him, which would have made the kids uncomfortable during the England player’s visit.
The 2005 Ashes hero was scheduled to meet the children as an England role model but the furore that he created by being out in the sea drunk after the World Cup loss to New Zealand made the organization replace him with Ravi Bopara for the visit.
Unicef said media frenzy around Flintoff was the sole reason for him being dropped for the visit.
“We took the decision that in the best interests of the children the media interest in Andrew Flintoff was too great for him to visit,” Unicef spokeswoman Lara Schlotterbeck said.
However, the organization made it clear that it was keen to work with the all-rounder in future charity initiatives. Flintoff himself was looking forward to meeting the children at the next available opportunity.
“Despite all that had happened Freddie was very keen to make the visit and see the children. He remains very much a supporter of Unicef’s project and we will be looking at ways in which the visit can be rearranged,” an England and Wales Spokesman was quoted as saying by the newspaper.