Cricket Scotland is to be placed into special measures at least until October 2023, and could stand to lose public funding worth £460,000 a year from Sportscotland, following the publication of a damning report into institutional racism within the sport.
A total of 448 examples of institutional racism were revealed in the Changing the Boundaries report, carried out by consultancy firm Plan4Sport, while Cricket Scotland failed in 29 out of 31 tests used to measure the scale of the problem – and barely met the required standard in the remaining two.
Plan4Sport’s investigation took in the testimony of nearly 1000 participants across all areas of Scottish cricket, and outlined 68 individual concerns that have been referred for further investigation, including 31 allegations of racism against 15 different people, two clubs and one regional association.
Some of these have also been referred to Police Scotland as hate crimes, including one incident that has already resulted in a court appearance.
The allegations outlined include racial abuse, inappropriate language, favouritism to white children from public-school backgrounds and a lack of transparency in selection for non-white players.
A survey conducted during the investigation found that 62 percent of respondents had experienced, seen or received reports of racism or other forms of discrimination.
The report also found that the lack of diversity within Scottish cricket meant there was no consistent process for handling racist incidents, and that people who did raise issues tended to be “sidelined or ignored”. This was the fate that Haq encountered after being sent home from the 2015 World Cup, after which he never added to his then-national record of 54 ODI appearances.
Cricket Scotland’s interim CEO, Gordon Arthur, described the report’s findings as a “watershed” moment for the sport, and issued a “heartfelt apology to all those who have been the victims of racism and discrimination in Scottish cricket”.
“The racism and discrimination that has taken place in the sport that we all love should never have been allowed to happen, or to go unchallenged for so long,” Arthur said. “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.
“This report is a watershed moment for cricket in Scotland and taking its recommendations forward is the top priority. 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.”
Louise Tideswell, the managing director of Plan4Sport, praised the bravery of those who had come forward with their stories, and condemned Cricket Scotland’s leadership for failing to recognise the problems and thereby “enabling a culture of racially aggravated micro-aggressions to develop”.
“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.”
Stewart Harris, the chief executive of Sportscotland, described the findings as “deeply concerning and in some cases shocking”, and added that they should serve 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,” Harris 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.”
One of the key recommendations of the report is that future recruitment to the board should involve no more than a 60-40 gender ratio either way, including a minimum of 25 percent of members should come from minority ethnic backgrounds.
In addition, an urgent review is to be held into the governance of Western District Cricket Union – one of Scotland’s five regional associations – which will be placed in special measures by Cricket Scotland, and suspended from overseeing disciplinary measures in the competitions under its auspices.