Lothian MSP warns 'grotesque' failures of Scottish cricket over racism must not be repeated in other sports
Lessons from the revelations of racism in Scottish cricket must be applied to other sports to ensure such "grotesque" failures are not allowed to happen again, says Lothian Labour MSP Foysol Choudhury.
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And he offered to join in discussions to help “clean up” Scottish cricket.Mr Choudhury was speaking following the publication earlier this week of a report – prompted by accounts of discrimination experienced by former Scotland internationals Majid Haq and Qasim Sheikh – which concluded that cricket in Scotland was institutionally racist. The review by charity Plan4Sport found favouritism towards white children from public schools, listed a total of 448 cases of institutional racism and led to the mass resignation of the Cricket Scotland board.
The damning findings of the “Changing The Boundaries” report have been called "a wake-up call for all of Scottish sport". A total 68 individual concerns have been referred for further investigation, including 31 allegations of racism against 15 people, two clubs and one regional association.
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Mr Choudhury said: “I am greatly saddened by the institutional racism within Cricket Scotland that has been uncovered by the Plan4Sport report. The extent of the racial and religious discrimination, and the seemingly casual disregard for any notion of good equalities practices within Cricket Scotland, are truly shocking.
"I echo the concerns voiced by the lawyer acting for Majid Haq and Qasim Sheikh this week that the resignation of the entire Cricket Scotland board leaves nobody to account for such a damning indictment of the practices of a national sporting body, but meaningful action to clean up Scottish cricket is what will now matter most to players, staff and fans alike.”
He said several incidents highlighted in the report remained open to police investigation and it was right that happened to find out if the law had been broken.
"What is clear from the report, however, is how many incidents fell short of illegality but were nonetheless motivated by racial animus. This pernicious underlying racism is a problem across society and must be rooted out wherever it is found. Lessons need to be learned."
Mr Choudhury said Asian players made a massive contribution cricket in Scotland and they should be welcomed at all levels of the game.
"I would be happy to facilitate constructive discussions that need to happen to progress the future of our beloved sport here in Scotland.
“We must ensure that remedies are promptly and effectively applied in the wake of this shameful episode. Cricket Scotland must clearly be overhauled, and Sportscotland have started this process.
"But it is now up to the whole of Scottish civil society to ensure that this is not only followed through in a way that makes a tangible change to people within the sport, but also that the warning signs from Cricket Scotland can be recognised and swiftly dealt in future.
“Together we must ensure that the environment that has been allowed to fester in Cricket Scotland is not present in any of our other national sporting bodies, and ensure that such grotesque failures as these are never again allowed to happen within Scottish sport.”