Cricket Scotland: Four resign from anti-racism group due to frustrations with governing body’s tackling of racism

Four members of Cricket Scotland’s anti-racism and equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) advisory group have resigned due to the organisation’s handling of tackling racism.

It follows last week’s update from Cricket Scotland chair Anjan Luthra, who said progress had been made by the governing body.

Those comments were criticised by anti-racism group Running Out Racism, which labelled Luthra’s claims as “unsubstantiated nonsense” and said the update from Cricket Scotland was “tone deaf” and “arrogant”.

Scotland international Abtaha Maqsood, Running Out Racism’s Raza Sadiq, businessman Imran Khan and academic Khadija Mohammed are those who have stepped down.

Funding body SportScotland is now holding “urgent discussions” with Cricket Scotland.

Last July, Sky Sports News revealed a damning review found that the governing body failed on almost all tests of institutional racism.

Majid Haq (left) and Qasim Sheikh (right) called for action to be taken after a review found that Cricket Scotland had failed on almost all tests of institutional racism

The full Cricket Scotland board stepped down prior to the publication of the independent report that found 448 instances of racism in the sport.

The anti-racism and EDI group was formed following recommendations from the report – in a bid to help create change alongside Luthra and interim chief executive Gordon Arthur, who has announced he will be leaving the organisation next month due to personal reasons.

A spokesperson for SportScotland – Scotland’s national agency for sport – said: “It is deeply disappointing that members of Cricket Scotland’s anti-racism and EDI advisory group have decided to resign their positions. However, we fully respect and understand their decision to do so.

“We have been consistently clear that only by engaging in real and meaningful consultation and engagement will cultural change be delivered within the sport. We are having urgent discussions with Cricket Scotland on this issue.”

‘Cricket Scotland claims are unsubstantiated nonsense’

Following the review conducted last July, Cricket Scotland was placed in ‘special measures’ by SportScotland.

As part of its six-month update, Cricket Scotland chair Luthra said last week that he expected the progress being made would lead to those measures being lifted.

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Cricket Scotland chair Anjan Luthra discusses why he took the role, the challenges he faces and his target to make Scotland ‘dream big’

Luthra said: “Our current trajectory means that we will exit special measures by October 31 and ensure Cricket Scotland continues its work towards becoming the most inclusive sport in the country over the long term.”

Luthra outlined significant progress made around Cricket Scotland’s approach to equality, diversity and inclusion, citing the new diversity working group as another step in the right direction.

However, anti-racism group Running Out Racism said Luthra’s statement “set back trust significantly” and “demonstrated that the governing body is failing in learning from mistakes of the past”.

Running Out Racism also revealed it has tried to raise concerns in private but is “sick of fighting for change in public with no results”.

The statement read: “The release by Cricket Scotland today has set back trust significantly and demonstrated that the governing body is failing in learning from the mistakes of the past.

“In order to address the issues in the sport, they must meaningfully engage with people. Not just Running Out Racism, but the wider cricketing community.

“Today’s release flies in the face of that. It is tone deaf and arrogant.

“To say they have significantly upgraded [their] approach to EDI is unsubstantiated nonsense. Unless that substantial upgrade is referring to ticking boxes as opposed to the previous strategy of ignoring the problem. They continue to ignore the very people who have been ignored for so long.

“To cite the EDI working group as an achievement is frankly embarrassing. At the first meeting in January, formed after five months of faffing around, some members of the group raised significant concerns around the intent of the governing body to meaningfully engage with people who have expertise in this area.

“Following that, the governing body put out a positive update, which was astounding to some who sat in that same meeting, and has subsequently ignored the group. None of today’s changes have made it to that group for consultation. A group that took five months to form and has only met once.”

08/05/14.MANNOFIELD.Majid Haq trains ahead of Cricket Scotland's upcoming clash with England.
Majid Haq played 54 one-day internationals and 21 T20 internationals for Scotland between 2006 and 2015

‘Cricket Scotland not fit for purpose’

The issues of institutional racism came to light following an interview on Sky Sports News with Scotland’s Majid Haq and team-mate Qasim Sheikh

The lawyer representing both players, Aamer Anwar, said last week: “Despite the horrific exposure of institutional racism, Cricket Scotland’s empty soundbites today shows that it remains unfit for purpose.

“Both Majid Haq and Qasim Sheikh are sad to see the chief executive Gordon Arthur step down, he was a man who genuinely fought for change to take place.

“My clients, both Majid and Qasim, believe the chair has failed to deliver or inspire genuine confidence from across the sport, and they regard the process as little more than an ‘arrogant cosmetic box ticking exercise’.

“It’s time that Sport Scotland stepped in with special measures, the only winners today are institutional racism and the dinosaurs who now appear even more entrenched.”

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