Cricket Scotland 'institutionally racist', independent review finds

Cricket Scotland will be placed into special measures until 'at least' October 2023.

Cricket Scotland has been found to be “institutionally racist” following an independent review.

In a report published on Monday, there were 448 examples found which demonstrated institutional racism.

It has recommended that Cricket Scotland be placed in special measures by sportscotland until at least October 2023.

The review was conducted by Plan4Sport following allegations of racism in the sport.

Cricket Scotland described the report as a “watershed moment” for the sport and said it is “clear” that “significant cultural change” must happen.

Within its findings, 68 individual concerns have been referred for further investigation.

They relate to 31 allegations of racism against 15 different people, two clubs and one regional association.

In some instances, multiple concerns have been raised against individuals, the report stated.

Among the report’s key findings, 63% of all survey respondents were found to have experienced, or had reported to them, incidents of racism, inequalities or discrimination.

There was also a lack of any Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) or anti-racist training in place for the board, staff, volunteers, players, coaches or umpires.

The report stated that there was no consistent mechanism or process for handling racist incidents and people who did not raise issues were “sidelined or ignored”.

A lack of diversity from board level and Hall of Fame right through the coaching workforce within the talent pathway was also found by the probe.

And it also concluded there was a lack of transparency in the selection process in the talent pathway and the absence of a single uniform approach to selection.

The review went on to recommend that Western District Cricket Union (WDCU) is placed in special measures by Cricket Scotland with immediate effect.

It states that there should also be a temporary and immediate suspension of WDCU’s role in managing all disciplinary matters relating to its competitions and clubs.

They will instead be handed to an alternative organisation to manage.

It is also recommended that there is an urgent, independent review into the overall effectiveness of WDCU’s governance, and its culture of inclusion as a regional association of Cricket Scotland is to be completed by the end of September.

In relation to Cricket Scotland, the review recommends that the organisation addresses the backlog in referrals that has been generated by the review.

Following the resignation of its board, Cricket Scotland has also been told it should begin an immediate recruitment process for new, independent board members with appointments to be made no later than September 30.

The diversity of board members should be a minimum of 40% men and 40% women, the review said, ensuring that a minimum of 25% of the total board makeup come from black, south-east Asian, or other mixed or multiple ethnic groups.

An action should also be developed by Cricket Scotland which addresses immediate actions, to be approved by sportscotland “no later” than September 30, the review recommended.

Managing director of Plan4Sport, Louise Tideswell, said that the leadership of Cricket Scotland “failed” to see the problems and enabled a culture of “racially aggravated micro-aggressions” to develop.

“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,” she said.

“Over the review period 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.

“It didn’t address the lack of diversity at board and staff level and missed the need to develop transparent reporting, investigation and case management processes to address incidents of racism and discrimination.

“But 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.

She added: “We have heard from grassroots players, volunteers and umpires who were passionate about ensuring cricket was open and welcoming to everyone.

“Plan4Sport sees this as a real opportunity to invest in and build on the good work already taking place through development programmes and club opportunities to truly create a game for everyone.”

Chief executive of sportscotland, Stewart Harris, said it would keep “all options on the table” as Cricket Scotland is held to account.

“We would like to thank everyone who contributed to the review, particularly those who came forward to share their experiences,” said Harris.

“This will have been a very difficult, and in some cases traumatic experience, and we hope this report provides the victims with some degree of assurance that their voices have been heard and that action will be taken.

“We also want to thank Louise Tideswell and the team of experts from Plan4Sport, who have worked tirelessly over the past seven months. They have shown an incredible degree of professionalism, compassion and empathy when speaking to the hundreds of people who contributed to the Changing The Boundaries report.

“The findings in this report are deeply concerning and in some cases shocking. Sport should be a welcoming place for all and it is unacceptable that anyone has suffered racist abuse and discrimination while playing the game they love.”

Harris continued: “As the national agency for sport, we will work with and support Cricket Scotland to help change the culture of Scottish cricket and that must now be the focus.

“There has been some progress in recent months but we need to see more steps being taken to address the issues raised and importantly that includes the referrals.  

“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.”

Cricket Scotland interim chief executive officer, Gordon Arthur, said: “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.

“I would like to again issue a heartfelt apology to all those who have been the victims of racism and discrimination in Scottish cricket.

“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. 

“I thank and acknowledge each and every person who bravely came forward to contribute to the review. I know this won’t have been easy, but the contributions have been essential to start setting cricket back on course.

“We would also like to thank Plan4Sport and sportscotland, who have worked tirelessly over the past seven months to get us to this point. We are incredibly grateful for the expertise and compassion shown throughout this process.

“It’s also imperative that we recognise the individuals who spoke out against racism and brought these serious problems to light and, despite their own suffering, continue to campaign for a fairer future for the sport. Thank you for all you’ve done.”

Arthur insisted that the organisation is “resolute” on building and fostering a “culture of inclusivity” within the sport.

“This report is a watershed moment for cricket in Scotland and taking its recommendations forward is the top priority,” he continued.

“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.

“We are resolute on building and fostering a culture of inclusivity within the sport of cricket where racism and discrimination of any kind is not tolerated, where everyone is welcome and has access to equal opportunities.

“We must address the past, repair the sport and ensure history does not repeat itself and we will need everyone’s commitment to make this change happen.”