Skip to content

Scottish cricket found to be 'institutionally racist' by independent review

The findings of an independent investigation published on Monday states it has uncovered 448 examples of institutional racism within the Scottish game; the review was conducted after allegations made by Scotland's all-time leading wicket-taker Majid Haq in an interview with Sky Sports News

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

An independent review has found 448 examples of institutional racism in Scottish cricket. Majid Haq and Qasim Sheikh have shared their experiences.

A damning review of Scottish cricket has found that its governing body failed on almost all tests of institutional racism.

Sky Sports revealed that the independent review found the sport in Scotland to be institutionally racist. Independent investigators have now published the details of their findings.

They found 448 indicators of institutional racism.

Of 31 'tests' used to measure the problem, Cricket Scotland - the game's governing body - failed on 29 and only partially met the required standard on the remaining two.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Sportscotland Chief Executive Stewart Harris is looking ahead to see what needs to be changed following a damning report into racism within Cricket Scotland

The report authors were told of a range of examples of racism experienced by participants across all areas of cricket, which led to referrals being made to Police Scotland as hate crimes, as well as Cricket Scotland.

Sixty-eight individual concerns have been referred for further investigation. These include 31 allegations of racism against 15 different people, two clubs and one regional association.

These allegations include racial abuse, the use of inappropriate language, favouritism to young, white children from public schools and a lack of transparent selection process for non-white players. In some cases, multiple concerns have been raised against the same individual.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Scotland's all-time leading wicket-taker Majid Haq claims Cricket Scotland is 'institutionally racist' after opening up about the abuse he suffered during his career

Investigators said contributors had "clearly witnessed or experienced racism, discrimination and persistent micro-aggressions based on race during their role as a coach, umpire or player".

Participants in the survey cited:

  • Inappropriate use of language, in some cases, which would be racist but considered simply as "banter."
  • Concern that sledging is being used as an excuse to racially abuse opposition players.
  • Lack of understanding of the impact of language and behaviour on individuals.
  • Inadequate systems to report racism on and off the pitch.
  • No willingness, in some instances, to deal with discriminatory incidents.
  • Lack of diversity of players, coaches nd umpires within the game.

The review was undertaken following complaints of institutional racism by two Scotland cricket internationals, Majid Haq and Qasim Sheikh, both of whom said the issue had blighted their careers. Their complaints followed a racism scandal surrounding Yorkshire Cricket Club, where former player Azeem Rafiq complained of racism there.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Former Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq, who was racially abused during his time as a player, has encouraged more players to speak out in Scottish Cricket after its governing body failed on almost all tests of institutional racism

Investigators found a lack of diversity ran through the coaching workforce, leading to a lack of role models able to understand cultural differences but also able to use this depth of understanding to create an environment that's inclusive and welcoming for all.

The review cites a lack of anti-racist training at Cricket Scotland, no consistent mechanism for handling racist incidents and a lack of diversity throughout the cricketing structure.

The report details three immediate high-level recommendations:

  • Cricket Scotland is placed in special measures by sportscotland until at least October 2023.
  • Cricket Scotland addresses the backlog in referrals generated from the review.
  • Western District Cricket Union (WDCU) is placed in special measures by Cricket Scotland with immediate effect.

The Cricket Scotland board resigned the day before the report findings were published. The review recommends that the diversity of the new board should be a minimum of 40 per cent men and 40 per cent women, with a minimum of 25 per cent of the new board's make-up coming from black, south-east Asian or multiple ethnic groups.

The review was conducted by Plan4Sport, an equality and diversity organisation. It engaged with nearly 1,000 people over a six-month period.

08/05/14.MANNOFIELD.Majid Haq trains ahead of Cricket Scotland's upcoming clash with England.
Image: Majid Haq made the allegations in an interview with Sky Sports News in November

'Watershed moment for cricket in Scotland'

Louise Tideswell, its managing director, said on publication: "Our view is clear: the governance and leadership practices of Cricket Scotland have been institutionally racist.

"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."

Stewart Harris, the chief executive of SportScotland which is sport's governing body north of the border, said: "We will keep all options on the table as we hold Cricket Scotland to account on all of the recommendations contacted 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, vowed to implement the recommendations in full, saying: "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.

"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"


24 November 2021 - Former players tell Sky Sports News about their experiences with Cricket Scotland, calling them 'institutionally racist' and ask for an independent investigation

Last November Scotland's all-time leading wicket taker Majid Haq and former player Qasim Sheikh told Sky Sports News they were treated differently due to colour of their skin, with Haq alleging Cricket Scotland was 'institutionally racist' and both called for an independent investigation.

8 December 2021 - sportscotland announce they will appoint independent investigators to carry out a review into Cricket Scotland

Following those allegations, funding body and Scotland's national agency for sport - sportscotland - announced they would appoint independent investigators to carry out a review into Scottish cricket and the allegations made. That announcement in December was welcomed by Cricket Scotland.

21 December 2021 - Cricket Scotland confirm NDA's to be relaxed

Later that month, Cricket Scotland revealed non-disclosure agreements were to be relaxed, meaning Majid Haq - who signed a NDA after being sent home from the 2015 Cricket World Cup - was able to speak about his experiences of alleged racism.

January 2022 - Plan4Sport begin review into racism within Scottish cricket

Equality and diversity experts Plan4Sport were then appointed to conduct the review which began in January with a "a confidential safe space" promised for those affected.

18 February 2022 - Cricket Scotland admit racism is an issue within the game

The following month Cricket Scotland accepted there was an issue with racism in the game in Scotland and apologised to those who had suffered, whilst calling on others to take part in the review.

28 April 2022 - Interim report on review into racism in Scottish cricket published

In April the interim findings of the review were published, revealing more than 200 people had engaged directly with the process. Concerns around racism, inequality and discrimination were identified while disclosures in relation to racism were passed to independent lawyers or Police Scotland.

10 June 2022 - Cricket Scotland pause search for new CEO

Following an extensive recruitment process, Cricket Scotland decided to delay plans to appoint a permanent Chief Executive Officer until the review was published in full to ensure the person taking over was best placed to lead change and act on the findings. Gordon Arthur was appointed on an interim basis the following month.

24 July 2022 - Cricket Scotland board resign

And yesterday, one day after we revealed this report will conclude Cricket Scotland is institutionally racist, the six remaining members of Cricket Scotland's board wrote to Gordon Arthur, resigning from their roles.

25 July 2022 - 'Changing The Boundaries' report released

The full report is published, detailing 448 indicators of institutional racism. Sixty-eight individual concerns have been referred for further investigation. These include 31 allegations of racism against 15 different people, two clubs and one regional association.

Around Sky