Cricket Scotland has announced that Anjan Luthra has resigned as chair of the organisation – less than six months after taking on the role and with the sport still embroiled in a racism row.
Luthra was appointed in October of last year after a report detailing institutional racism in the sport prompted the resignation of the entire Cricket Scotland board.
A new board was appointed and changes were announced to meet the recommendations of the report, while Cricket Scotland remained under “special measures” imposed by Sportscotland.
However, an update published earlier this month saw Luthra’s claims of progress being disputed, with anti-racism group Running Out Racism accusing the organisation of being “tone deaf and arrogant”, adding the chair’s claims showed a danger of repeating past mistakes and eroding trust.
Luthra has now decided to step down after less than six months in his position.
A Cricket Scotland statement read: “Cricket Scotland can announce that Anjan Luthra has resigned as chair with immediate effect.
“The organisation thanks Anjan for his hard work and input during his time as chair.
“Cricket Scotland will make no further comment at this stage.”
Luthra then published his resignation letter, stating that interference from Sportscotland and unspecified lobby groups had made his job difficult.
He wrote: “I fundamentally disagree with the way Sportscotland is handling the sport. I believe their priority is to meet the demands of a lobby group and a handful of individuals associated with them – even if that means the wider sport and community will be negatively impacted.”
Luthra claimed that the organisation had “tackled all issues at once”, including from the Changing The Boundaries report last year that detailed the racism in cricket, and said he had saved the firm from potential insolvency. He also cited other successes in his time in charge, including giving the women’s national team paid contracts, and signing new commercial deals.
Luthra criticised Sportscotland, saying that they and the lobby group “have little desire to holistically rebuild and improve Cricket Scotland” and said that lobbyists would not be happy unless all of Cricket Scotland’s resources were dedicated to the findings of the racism report. The businessman said that approach would mean that Cricket Scotland would no longer exist and “the wider cricketing community will gravely suffer”.
A spokesperson for sportscotland said: “This has been an exceptionally challenging time for everyone involved in Scottish cricket and we would like to thank Anjan Luthra for his contribution as chair. We will take immediate steps to provide additional leadership and governance support to Cricket Scotland.
“We remain fully committed to helping rebuild Scottish cricket and have provided unprecedented levels of support to Cricket Scotland since publication of the Changing The Boundaries report in July 2022. That support represents an almost doubling of our core investment across the financial year.”
A statement from Running Out Racism read: “We are disappointed the chair has felt the need to resign. We’ve been trying to open a dialogue since the poor communications of two weeks ago with others across cricket to help intervene and convince the chair to change approach. Many internally have tried to help with that, but it has fallen on deaf ears.
“People make mistakes, but to blame others rather than owning them in any way is disappointing. There is no mention or any acknowledgement of the significant lack of progress made, or the resignations that transpired as a result – many of which have no connection to the campaign, including a current national team player. But it also shows that he probably isn’t the right person to lead our sport going forward.
“Key to resolving this situation is rebuilding trust, and strong consultation. Not just over stated PR messages that don’t address the full truth of situations. This is just another example of trying to rewrite the narrative and ignoring the facts.
“There are a number of inaccuracies within his statement. Addressing them point by point in public is likely to inflame the situation. In the interests of the sport rebuilding, we will seek to address these directly with key people within the sport, and at sportscotland.”
A sportscotland statement read: “Cricket Scotland can confirm the resignation of its Chair, Anjan Luthra, with
immediate effect. Cricket Scotland will not comment further on his resignation, other than to thank Anjan for the considerable time and energy he has spent during his time on the Board.
“There will not be any response to the personal opinions that have been made public following his resignation. Cricket Scotland has been in constant contact with sportscotland throughout the day to put in place short term measures to enable the governing body to continue delivering its programmes of work, and we are appreciative of their continued support.
“This includes progressing the appointments of a fixed term Head for the “Changing The Boundaries” work and an interim Chief Executive Officer. The cricket season is less than four weeks away and there is much to be done, and the team remain fully focused on delivery in all areas.
“The independent investigation team, led by Harper MacLeod LLP and Sporting Equals, continue to work on the referrals process, with oversight from sportscotland. Cricket Scotland continues to support this process and will be ready to deal with these cases as they emerge from the investigations phase. It is in everyone’s interest that this process is brought to a conclusion as soon as possible.”