Cricket Scotland found to be institutionally racist

The governance and leadership practices of Cricket Scotland have been found to be “institutionally racist”, according the report published on Monday by equality and diversity consultants Plan4Sport.

The report said there were 448 examples that demonstrated institutional racism, with 62% of respondents saying they had experienced, seen or had reported to them incidents of racism, inequalities or discrimination.

The review was commissioned after allegations were made by Majid Haq, one of Scotland’s all-time leading wicket-takers. Haq’s former team mate Qasim Sheikh also spoke out about abuse he had suffered.

The entire board of Cricket Scotland resigned on Sunday with immediate effect, a day before the independent investigation was published.

“Our view is clear: the governance and leadership practices of Cricket Scotland have been institutionally racist,” said Louise Tideswell, managing director of Plan4Sport.

“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.

“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.

“It didn’t address the lack of diversity at board and staff level and missed the need to develop transparent reporting, investigation and case management processes to address incidents of racism and discrimination.”

However, Tideswell added: “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.”

One of the report’s recommendations said Cricket Scotland must be placed in “special measures” by SportScotland until at least October 2023 and new board members be appointed no later than September 30 this year.

“The diversity of board members should be a minimum of 40% men and 40% women, ensuring that a minimum of 25% of the total board makeup come from of Black, South-East Asian, or other mixed or multiple ethnic groups,” the report said.

Another recommendation said all investigations resulting from referrals, of which there is a backlog, must be “expedited by a third party with the appropriate expertise.”

Cricket Scotland’s recently-appointed interim CEO Gordon Arthur issued a “heartfelt apology” to all victims of racism and discrimination, saying the report was a watershed moment for the game in Scotland.

“We recognise the impact this will have had on individuals and their families. We hope the report provides them with some reassurance that their voices have been heard, and we are sorry this did not happen sooner,” said Arthur.

“It’s clear that significant cultural change must happen and it must happen quickly. The immediate priority must be to get the independent referral process agreed and implemented so the investigations into the referrals can start.”

SportScotland CEO Stewart Harris said some of the findings in the report are “deeply concerning and in some cases shocking”, describing it as a wake-up call for Scottish sport.

“As the national agency for sport, we will work with and support Cricket Scotland to help change the culture of Scottish cricket and that must now be the focus,” said Harris.

“There has been some progress in recent months but we need to see more steps being taken to address the issues raised and importantly that includes the referrals.”

About the Author

Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.