An explosive report into racism in Scottish cricket has revealed alarming details of institutional racism

Scottish cricket in racism storm

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An explosive report into racism in Scottish cricket has revealed alarming details of institutional racism in the game.

PLan4Sport’s review, published today, has found the governance and leadership practices of Cricket Scotland to be institutionally racist, with an eye-watering 448 examples of racism being recorded.

On what could be seen as one of the darkest days for Scottish sport, it has emerged that there were almost 1,000 direct engagements with the review from across all levels of Scottish cricket.

Sportsmail understands there has already been one referral made to Police Scotland, and more could be on the way.

The governing body will now be placed in ‘special measures’ until at least October 2023, by which time it is expected to develop an action plan and address immediate concerns. 

Should it fail to do so, it could have its funding from Sportscotland withdrawn. In the last year, Cricket Scotland has received about £460,000 from the government agency.

Within the report, recurring themes were mapped against 31 indicators of institutional racism, with a whopping 29 failing to meet the standard required and only two partially meeting the standard. 68 individual concerns have been referred for further investigation. 

These relate to 31 allegations of racism against 15 different people, two clubs and one Regional Association. In some instances, multiple concerns have been raised against individuals. Some of these alleged incidents are recent while others were not. These investigations are expected to be concluded in due course.

An explosive report into racism in Scottish cricket has revealed alarming details of institutional racism

An explosive report into racism in Scottish cricket has revealed alarming details of institutional racism

Sportsmail understands an independent process will be established at arms-length from Cricket Scotland to investigate the referrals. 

Those involved in this process will include lawyers and those from an equality and inclusion background. Should any individual wish to come forward to report their concerns to Police Scotland, they will continue to be encouraged to do so.

Other key findings in the report include failings of governance from within Cricket Scotland: a lack of any EDI or anti-racist training in place for board, staff, volunteers, players, coaches or umpires. 

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No consistent mechanism for handling racist incidents and people who did raise issues were sidelined or ignored. A lack of diversity from board level and Hall of Fame right through the coaching workforce within the talent pathway has also been highlighted, as has a lack of transparency in the selection process in the talent pathway and the absence of a single uniform approach to selection.

Furthermore, 62 per cent of all survey respondents had experienced, seen or had reported to them incidents of racism, inequalities or discrimination.

Sportsmail understands there has already been one referral made to Police Scotland

Sportsmail understands there has already been one referral made to Police Scotland

Sportsmail understands there has already been one referral made to Police Scotland

Three immediate high-level recommendations have been made in the Changing The Boundaries report including;

  • Cricket Scotland is placed in special measures by sportscotland until at least October 2023.
  • Cricket Scotland to commence an immediate recruitment process for new independent Board members, with appointments made no later than 30 September 2022.
  • 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.
  • Action Plan to be developed by Cricket Scotland which addresses the immediate actions and short-term KPIs. The Action Plan should be approved by sportscotland not later than 30 September 2022.
  • Western District Cricket Union (WDCU) is placed in special measures by Cricket Scotland with immediate effect.
  • Temporary and immediate suspension of WDCU’s role in managing all disciplinary matters relating to its competitions and clubs. These are to be handed to an alternative organisation to manage.
  • An urgent, independent review into the overall effectiveness of WDCU’s governance, and its culture of inclusion, as a Regional Association of Cricket Scotland, to be completed by the end of September. This does not include the Western District Junior Cricket Union.
  • Cricket Scotland addresses the backlog in referrals generated from the review.
  • All investigations resulting from referrals to be expedited by a third party with the appropriate expertise.

Managing Director of Plan4Sport, Louise Tideswell, said: ‘We’ve been working on the review since January this year and our view is clear: the governance and leadership practices of Cricket Scotland have been institutionally racist.

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‘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. 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.

‘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.

Managing Director of Plan4Sport, Louise Tideswell, praised the bravery of those who came forward

Managing Director of Plan4Sport, Louise Tideswell, praised the bravery of those who came forward

Managing Director of Plan4Sport, Louise Tideswell, praised the bravery of those who came forward

‘We have heard from grassroots players, volunteers and umpires who were passionate about ensuring cricket was open and welcoming to everyone. 

‘Plan4Sport sees this as a real opportunity to invest in and build on the good world already taking place through development programmes and club opportunities to truly create a game for everyone.’

Chief Executive of sportscotland, Stewart Harris, said: ‘We would like to thank everyone who contributed to the review, particularly those who came forward to share their experiences. 

‘This will have been a very difficult, and in some cases traumatic experience, and we hope this report provides the victims with some degree of assurance that their voices have been heard and that action will be taken.

‘We also want to thank Louise Tideswell and the team of experts from Plan4Sport, who have worked tirelessly over the past seven months. They have shown an incredible degree of professionalism, compassion and empathy when speaking to the hundreds of people who contributed to the Changing The Boundaries report.

‘The findings in this report are deeply concerning and in some cases shocking. Sport should be a welcoming place for all and it is unacceptable that anyone has suffered racist abuse and discrimination while playing the game they love.

‘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. 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.

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

‘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.’

Qasim Sheikh is one of those accusing the governing body of institutional racism

Qasim Sheikh is one of those accusing the governing body of institutional racism

Qasim Sheikh is one of those accusing the governing body of institutional racism

Publication of Changing The Boundaries follows an in-depth consultation exercise involving hundreds of people from across all levels of Scottish cricket including grassroots players, staff, national squad players, board members, coaches, regional association management committee members and match officials and club members.

The review, launched in December 2021 by Sportscotland, was set up following concerns raised to Scotland’s national sport agency in November last year.

Former Scotland cricketers Majid Haq and Qasim Sheikh had also spoken out publicly about their experiences of racism in the sport and called Cricket Scotland ‘institutionally racist.’ Sportsmail has followed their story since December last year.

Last year, the 39-year-old former spinner accused Cricket Scotland of 'institutional racism'

Last year, the 39-year-old former spinner accused Cricket Scotland of 'institutional racism'

Last year, the 39-year-old former spinner accused Cricket Scotland of ‘institutional racism’

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