Cricket Scotland leadership deemed ‘institutionally racist’

Cricket Scotland’s management and leadership practices have been deemed “institutionally racist,” an organization that conducted an independent review of the governing body said on Monday.
The study confirmed 448 instances of institutionalized racism, with 62 percent of respondents saying they had encountered, seen or reported instances of racism, inequality or discrimination.
Plan4Sport, commissioned by SportScotland, led the review last December and the body has drawn over 1,000 people across all levels of Scottish cricket over the past few months.

“Our point of view is clear: Cricket Scotland’s management and leadership practices were institutionally racist,” said Louise Tideswell, managing director of Plan4Sport.

“During the reporting period, we saw the courage of so many people who shared their stories that clearly influenced their lives.
“The reality is that the leadership of the organization did not see the problems and, without noticing it, contributed to the development of a culture of microaggression, exacerbated by racial affiliation.
“It did not address the lack of diversity at the board and staff levels and overlooked the need to develop transparent reporting, investigation and case management processes to address incidents of racism and discrimination.”

Cricket Scotland’s board apologized and resigned on Sunday, the day before the report was released, citing that resolving the issues and the required overhaul was “unattainable” within the proposed time frame.

Treat differently

The review was ordered after one of the country’s best players ever, Majid Haq, claimed that Scotland’s cricket was “institutionally racist”.
Haq’s former teammate Qasim Sheikh also spoke about the abuse he suffered, with both players stating that they were treated differently due to the color of their skin.
The accusations came after Azim Rafik told a UK parliamentary committee in November about the discrimination he faced in Yorkshire, with the spinner also saying that sport in England is “institutionally racist”.

“This is no longer an accusation of racism, but a complete acquittal of Majid Haq, Qasim Sheikh and all those who bravely testified,” said Aamer Anwar, a lawyer representing the two players.

“They welcome the findings and recommendations and are grateful to the Plan4Sport staff for such a comprehensive and serious investigation, because this was truly the first time they were treated with sympathy.”
Anwar added that board resignations are welcome, but resigning before the report is released means there will be no one to answer for their failures.
Other findings of the review included a lack of education on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) or anti-racism education for boards, staff, volunteers, players, coaches or referees, and a lack of a mechanism to deal with racist incidents.

They added that those who raised issues were “sidelined and ignored.”

One of the recommendations says that SportScotland should apply “special measures” to Cricket Scotland until at least October 2023, and new board members should be appointed no later than September 30 of this year.
“The diversity of board members must be at least 40 percent male and 40 percent female, ensuring that at least 25 percent of the total board must be Black, Southeast Asian, or other mixed or multiple ethnic groups. “, it added.

Another recommendation states that all investigations on referrals or for which there are delays should be “expedited by a third party with relevant expertise.”

watershed moment

Cricket Scotland interim CEO Gordon Arthur offered a “sincere apology” to all victims of racism and discrimination, saying the report was a watershed moment for the game in Scotland.
“We recognize the impact this will have on individuals and their families. We hope the report gives them some reassurance that their voices have been heard and we regret that this did not happen sooner,” Mr Arthur said.

“It is clear that significant cultural changes must occur, and this must happen quickly. The immediate priority should be to agree on and implement an independent referral process so that referral investigations can begin.”

The woman speaks.

Plan4Spot Managing Director Louise Tideswell said Cricket Scotland’s leadership team has “enabled the development of a culture of racially motivated microaggressions”. Source: AARP, Press Association / Andrew Milligan

Stuart Harris, chief executive of SportScotland, said some of the report’s findings were “deeply disturbing and in some cases shocking”, calling it a wake-up call for Scottish sport.

“As the national sports agency, we will be working with and supporting Cricket Scotland to help change the culture of Scottish cricket and that should now be the focus,” said Mr Harris.

“There has been some progress in recent months, but we need more steps to be taken to address the concerns raised, and importantly, this includes directions.”