Cricket Scotland in special measures after 448 incidents of 'institutional racism'

25 July 2022, 13:26 | Updated: 25 July 2022, 13:40

Cricket Scotland have been put in "special measures" after 448 examples of institutional racism were uncovered
Cricket Scotland have been put in "special measures" after 448 examples of institutional racism were uncovered. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

An independent review has recommended Cricket Scotland be put in "special measures" after 448 examples of institutional racism were uncovered.

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A report by consultancy firm Plan4Sport revealed the "governance and leadership practices of Cricket Scotland have been institutionally racist".

Cricket Scotland failed 29 out of 31 indicators of institutional racism with the organisation only partially passing the other two tests.

The report was published the day after the entire board of Cricket Scotland resigned, saying: "We are all truly sorry and have apologised publicly to everyone who has experienced racism, or any other form of discrimination, in cricket in Scotland."

The review was ordered following allegations made by former Scotland cricketers Majid Haq and Qasim Sheikh in November.

Now the findings of the Changing The Boundaries report are being described as a "wake-up call for Scottish sport".

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Speaking about the report, Stewart Harris, chief executive of sportscotland, said the findings are "deeply concerning and in some cases shocking".

He went on: "Today should also act as a wake-up call for all of Scottish sport. Racism is a societal problem and it is no longer good enough to simply be non-racist - Scottish sport must now be actively anti-racist."

His comments came after the report revealed that 68 individual concerns have now been referred for further investigation, including 31 allegations of racism against 15 people, two clubs and one regional association.

The allegations include racial abuse, use of inappropriate language, favouritism to white children from public schools, and a lack of a transparent selection process.

Scotland's Majid Haq
Scotland's Majid Haq. Picture: Alamy

An interim report in April revealed that some incidents had been referred to police and it has now emerged that one individual has appeared in court as a result.

More than two-thirds (62%) of respondents to a survey had experienced, seen or received reports of racism or other forms of discrimination, the report revealed.

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It went on to highlight a lack of diversity or anti-racism training, and a lack of a consistent process for handling alleged racist incidents, with those who raised such issues said to be "sidelined or ignored".

Plan4Sport managing director Louise Tideswell said: "Over the review period we have seen the bravery of so many people coming forward to share their stories which had clearly impacted on their lives - people who have loved cricket and, despite the many knockbacks, continued to try and make progress, umpires who committed so many hours even though promotion never came, and players who saw or heard racism and hostility, but kept coming back to play.

"The reality is that the leadership of the organisation failed to see the problems and, in failing to do so, enabled a culture of racially aggravated micro-aggressions to develop.

"But I also want to add that, whilst the governance and leadership practices of the organisation have been institutionally racist, the same should not be said for cricket in Scotland. There are many outstanding clubs and individuals delivering local programmes which truly engage with diverse communities."

The report made three key recommendations, including for Cricket Scotland to be taken under special measures by the national agency for sport until at least October 2023.

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Another key recommendation is that one of Scotland's five regional associations - the Western District Cricket Union - is placed in special measures by Cricket Scotland and immediately suspended from managing all disciplinary measures relating to its competitions.

An urgent review should be held into its governance, the report said.

New board members should also be recruited for Cricket Scotland, with efforts to ensure a minimum of 25% of members coming from black, south-east Asian, or other mixed or multiple ethnic groups.

Mr Harris pledged that sportscotland "will work with and support Cricket Scotland to help change the culture of Scottish cricket and that must now be the focus".

He added: "There has been some progress in recent months but we need to see more steps being taken to address the issues raised.

"We will keep all options on the table as we hold Cricket Scotland to account on all of the recommendations contained within this report."

Running Out Racism, a volunteer organisation established after cricketer Azeem Rafiq raised his significant concerns about racism at Yorkshire, welcomed the findings.

"Throughout the process of the review itself, Cricket Scotland have been far too passive, and demonstrated a lack of any urgency or sense of understanding of how to address the problem," a statement read.

"No trust can be built without the governing body demonstrating it truly does accept this result, and that it is willing to deal with anyone responsible for directly discriminating against individuals. Without that, we simply cannot move forward."