• Sun. Feb 5th, 2023

‘Wake-up call’: Cricket Scotland failed on almost all tests of institutional racism, report finds


Jul 25, 2022

A damning review of Scottish cricket has found that its governing body failed on almost all tests of institutional racism.

Sky News revealed on Saturday that the independent review found the sport in Scotland to be institutionally racist.

Independent investigators have now published the details of their findings.

They found 448 indicators of institutional racism.

Of 31 “tests” used to measure the problem, Cricket Scotland – the game’s governing body – failed on 29 and only partially met the required standard on the remaining two.

The report authors were told of a range of examples of racism experienced by participants across all areas of cricket, which led to referrals being made to Police Scotland as hate crimes, as well as Cricket Scotland.

Sixty-eight individual concerns have been referred for further investigation.

These include 31 allegations of racism against 15 different people, two clubs and one regional association.

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

In some cases, multiple concerns have been raised against the same individual.

Investigators said contributors had “clearly witnessed or experienced racism, discrimination and persistent micro-aggressions based on race during their role as a coach, umpire or player”.

Participants in the survey cited:

• Inappropriate use of language, in some cases, which would be racist but considered simply as “banter”
• Concern that sledging is being used as an excuse to racially abuse opposition players
• Lack of understanding of the impact of language and behaviour on individuals
• Inadequate systems to report racism on and off the pitch
• No willingness, in some instances, to deal with discriminatory incidents
• Lack of diversity of players, coaches, and umpires within the game

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‘We were always treated differently’

Clubs lacked ‘cultural awareness’

A significant number spoke about some people who had previously raised concerns and had been victimised as a result.

One contributor, quoted anonymously, said: “There are too many close friendships in Cricket Scotland to be able to keep things confidential and this creates a lack of trust from people who want to report racism and other discrimination.”

The report authors pointed to a lack of “cultural awareness” in some cricket clubs, with regard to language.

“Some clubs cited concerns about teams with a majority of South-East Asian players speaking in their own community language during matches,” the report said.

“The inference made was that players were cheating by doing this and should only be allowed to speak in English.”

The review was undertaken following complaints of institutional racism by two Scotland cricket internationals, Majid Haq and Qasim Sheikh, both of whom said the issue had blighted their careers.

Their complaints followed a racism scandal surrounding Yorkshire Cricket Club, where former player Azeem Rafiq complained of racism there.

Investigators found a lack of diversity ran through the coaching workforce, leading to a lack of role models able to understand cultural differences but also able to use this depth of understanding to create an environment that’s inclusive and welcoming for all.

Cricket - Holland v Scotland - Twenty20 International - The Brit Oval - 3/6/09 Scotland's Majid Haq Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Paul Harding
Majid Haq is Scotland’s all-time leading wicket scorer. Pic: Action Images / Paul Harding

Cricket Scotland placed in special measures

The review cites a lack of anti-racist training at Cricket Scotland, no consistent mechanism for handling racist incidents and a lack of diversity throughout the cricketing structure.

Cricket Scotland has been placed in special measures until at least October 2023 and so has the Western District Cricket Union (WDCU), which organises and promotes cricket across a wide area.

Its role in managing disciplinary matters has been suspended and handed to an alternative organisation. Investigators heard concerns relating to the WDCU and concluded they had little confidence in its ability to manage cases of racism fairly and transparently.

The WDCU reported several complaints in relation to racism. A volunteer, quoted anonymously in the report, said: “It was very difficult to work in West Scotland and not witness racism.”

The Cricket Scotland board resigned the day before the report findings were published.

‘A wake-up call’ for Scottish sport

The review recommends that the diversity of the new board should be a minimum of 40% men and 40% women, with a minimum of 25% of the new board’s make-up coming from black, south-east Asian or multiple ethnic groups.

The review was conducted by Plan4Sport, an equality and diversity organisation. It engaged with nearly 1000 people over a six-month period.

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

Read more from Sky News:
Rafiq calls for ‘total clear-out’ of Yorkshire leadership
England Test captain vows to change cricket’s dressing room culture

Stewart Harris, chief executive of SportScotland, which is sport’s governing body north of the border, said: “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.”

Source : Sky.com

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