Lawyer 'flooded' with Scottish sport racism claims amid cricket review

Aamer Anwar says "all-white" sports need to change.

Lawyer Aamer Anwar ‘flooded with messages’ from other sports following cricket racism review STV News

Fresh concerns over allegations of racism and a lack of equality in a number of sports have “flooded” the email inbox of a lawyer who helped reveal institutional prejudice in Scottish Cricket.

Aamer Anwar says he has been shocked by the apparent scale of the problem in Scottish sport and says a lack of diversity is a crucial problem and “all-white” institutions need to change.

A report published this week detailed institutional racism in Cricket Scotland and included testimony from 200 people involved in the sport. The entire board of the organisation resigned ahead of its publication and special measures are in place as sportscotland helps to deal with the multitude of issues raised during the review.

Whistleblowers Majid Haq and Qasim Sheikh received a personal apology from Cricket Scotland at Wednesday’s T20 international against New Zealand and Anwar, who represented the pair as they forced the issues into the public eye, says he is now hearing of similar complaints at other sports in Scotland.

He told STV: “We have been flooded with individuals contacting my office to complain about their sports, about what’s happening, about the lack of diversity, the lack of diversity on the boards, the lack of diversity in the coaches, the lack of diversity in terms of selection.

“These are all-white institutions that are operating and it needs to change.”

Anwar also released a statement on Wednesday criticising the lack of public comment from Scotland’s white players following the publication of the review.

“Since the board resigned and the publication of the devastating indictment of Cricket Scotland, the white players in the Scotland team have yet to provide any real solidarity to the victims of racism, including their fellow team-mates Hamza Tahir and Safyaan Sharif,” Anwar said.

“Their attitude is deeply shameful (and) the fact that last year the team were taking the knee can now only be described as tokenism.

“Many of the dinosaurs who remain at the heart of Cricket Scotland claim to love the game, in fact their racism is killing the game, our cricket grounds should be packed with families and communities cheering on their diverse teams who are picked to play on merit, but sadly they are not.

“If these racists think that they can ignore what has happened, then they should be under no illusion that there is no turning back, they represent the past and should have no role on the future of Scottish Cricket.”

The review, carried out by consultancy firm Plan4Sport, was commissioned after Haq and Sheikh spoke out in the wake of similar issues at Yorkshire Cricket Club. It found that Cricket Scotland failed on 29 out of 31 indicators of institutional racism.

People involved in the sport were urged to come forward with their experiences and an anonymous survey found 122 people reported racial discrimination, while 49 experienced discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief.

One person has already appeared in court as a result of evidence given to the review, while 68 individual reports are being investigated further by Police Scotland, Children First or Cricket Scotland.

A Cricket Scotland spokesperson said: “Gordon Arthur has met with Majid Haq and Qasim Sheikh today at the Scotland vs New Zealand T20 international.

“He has had a very constructive discussion about resolving the issues that have come out of the Review into Racism, and has apologised for the time it has taken to get to this stage and the impact it has had on them and their families.

“They have agreed to meet within the next week and have a shared commitment to ensure cricket in Scotland is a truly welcoming sport with equal opportunities for everyone.” 

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