Independent review finds ‘institutional racism’ in Scottish cricket

An independent review of Scottish cricket has found pervasive evidence of “institutional racism” at the top of the sport, prompting calls for governing bodies to undertake “actively anti-racist work”.

The Changing the Boundaries report, published on Monday, discovered allegations of racial abuse within the game, “inappropriate” language and favoritism towards white children from private and independent schools.

“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,” said Louise Tideswell, managing director at consultancy Plan4Sport, which led the investigation.

“The reality is that the leadership of the organization failed to see the problems and, in failing to do so, enabled a culture of racially aggravated microaggressions to develop,” she added.

The findings come later allegations of racism at England’s Yorkshire County Cricket Club last year by former cricket player Azeem Rafiq, who said that coaches and executives had failed to support him when he was subjected to racial slurs by teammates.

Stewart Harris, chief executive of sportscotland, the national agency that commissioned the report, said the findings were “deeply concerning and in some cases shocking”.

Harris said the report should act as a “wake-up call” for all Scottish sports. “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,” he said.

Jamie Stone, Liberal Democrat MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, said the Scottish government had “a responsibility to intervene and support the distinctively anti-racist work that will be necessary”.

“A great power of work must be done to repair the damage done to ethnic minority players and fans,” added Stone.

Last year, Scottish international players Majid Haq and Qasim Sheikh alleged that discrimination had been a problem north of the border after Rafiq highlighted discrimination in the English game.

“Today will be a very difficult day for everyone who has had years of abuse at the hands of @CricketScotland,” Rafiq tweeted on Monday. “Everyone that contributed to the review I know the mental scars will never heal but I hope today provides some answers.”

The seven-month investigation, involving about 1,000 people across Scottish cricket, found 448 examples of institutional racism.

More than 60 percent of survey respondents said they had “experienced, seen, or had reported to them incidents of racism, inequalities or discrimination”.

As well as identifying a lack of anti-racism training, the report found there had been “no consistent mechanism or process for handling racist incidents”.

“People who raised issues were sidelined or ignored,” it noted.

The board of Cricket Scotland resigned on Saturday ahead of the report’s publication on Monday. The organization will be put under the direct supervision of sportscotland until October 2023.

The report recommended the new board should include a minimum of 40 percent women with at least a quarter of members from black, south-east Asian, or other mixed or multiple ethnic groups, reflecting the background of club players.

Cricket Scotland has vowed to implement the report’s recommendations. Gordon Arthur, interim chief executive of Cricket Scotland, said racism and discrimination “should never have been allowed to happen, or to go unchallenged for so long”.

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