A damning, independent report unearthed 448 examples of institutional racism at Cricket Scotland, bringing it into special measures and the resignation of its board in advance of its publication.
The solicitor representing Majid Haq and Qasim Sheikh Aamar Anwar called the resignations the “cowardly option” that avoids accountability, as Cricket Scotland published an apology on its website.
The review and subsequent report, published by the group Plan4Sport for Sportscotland, found top-down structural failings in staff diversity, an absence of a consistent means to report racist incidents and discrimination, and an absence of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) or anti-racist training programmes for its board, playing and non-playing staff (and volunteers).
Racism impacted international cricketers, those at a grassroots, umpires, club volunteers, and the parents of young people and community leaders, the 52-page report found.
The report outlined a total absence of information in the mechanisms to report racism formally. And when individuals reported racism either to a Regional Association or Cricket Scotland, no action followed, or reports sat in stasis for years. Understandably this eroded trust in Cricket Scotland, the Regional Associations, or the Western District Cricket Union to handle complaints of racism effectively or transparency.
Racism drove some out of the sport entirely.
Other high-level concerns raised in the report is that Cricket Scotland failed to provide a reporting service for racist incidents off-field and provided zero guidance to clubs about implementing a zero tolerance approach to racism as clubs failed to promote diversity and inclusivity. Nor did Cricket Scotland provide EDI and anti-racism training to club volunteers, nor offer templates or verbal communications to assert best practices for EDI and anti-racism.
Some examples of racism reported to Plan4Sport resulted in hate crime reports to Police Scotland, with some reports subject to potential police involvement moving forward.
Others did not seek further but, in their experiences of or witnessing racism and discrimination, described the harms of microaggressions of racism as mere “banter” as “sledging” on the field of play included racism.
Plan4Sport drew on the MacPherson definition of institutional racism, where “processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping which disadvantages minority ethnic people,” and developed their indicators of institutional racism shaped by 31 indicators.
Of the 31 indicators of institutional racism Plan4Sport devised, Cricket Scotland failed 29.
Just over 10 per cent of those surveyed identified as Muslim, while 16 per cent identified as Asian, Scottish-Asian or from British-Asian backgrounds.
Regarding 68 individual concerns brought to the attention of the review, 31 allegations of racism concern fifteen individuals, two clubs, and a Regional Association (with some concerns raised about individuals multiple times). Allegations range from racist abuse to the preferential treatment of white public school boys and a non-transparent system for selecting Black, Asian, and minority ethnic players. As participants further raised concerns about a selection bias of boys from the public, not state-funded schools.
In a press conference following the report’s publication, Majid Haq said: “You don’t get the same opportunities as a white player. You always have to play twice as well to get anywhere near the same opportunity as a white cricketer”.
Special measures mean Sportscotland assumes control of Cricket Scotland until the autumn of next year, according to the BBC, as any board appointed by September 2022 must have 40 per cent male and 40 per cent female representation, with at least one-quarter from ethnic minority backgrounds.
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