Racism in sport: Labour MSP calls for strict laws and monitoring
Lothian Labour MSP Foysol Choudhury has called for strict laws and monitoring to help banish racism from sport in Scotland.
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He praised anti-racism campaigners and cricketers who had spoken out about racism in their sport and called for institutional barriers to be removed.
Speaking in a debate in the Scottish Parliament on the review by charity Plan4Sport of racism in Scottish cricket, he said: “Another investigation, another organisation found to be institutionally racist and a long list of actions to be taken – 23 years after the 1999 Macpherson report, racism is still present across society.”
The Macpherson report into the racially-motivated murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence in London highlighted major failings in the Metropolitan Police.
Mr Choudhury – Lothian’s first ethnic minority MSP – continued: “Since then, positive moves towards equality have been taken and I applaud the work of campaigns such as Show Racism the Red Card and Kick it Out, which encourage the end of racism within sport.
“Institutions that receive government funding must be held to account and must promote anti-racist equality practices. Institutions and their boards must not be given awards whilst failing to uphold standards of fairness, equality and accountability for those they serve. It is unacceptable that Cricket Scotland was winning diversity awards whilst 448 cases of institutional racism were happening.”
He said he commended those who shared their experiences of racism within cricket, including former Scotland internationals Majid Haq and Qasim Sheikh.
“Doing so has helped to expose the realities that racism does still exist in Scotland and that something needs to be done – now. I hope that in the future, it will be easier for other victims of racism to share their experience and be supported in doing so.”
Mr Choudhury said the Plan4Sport report, whilst shocking and extremely disappointing, was a wake-up call about the reality of racism in sport and in Scotland today.
“I am a cricket lover and have played the game myself. Sport should be an exciting, enjoyable pursuit for children and adults alike and we should not be allowing a culture where people feel that they cannot succeed in, or enjoy, sport because of institutional barriers against their skin colour, religion or cultural background.
“I want to see strict laws, monitoring and methods to ensure change. Racism in Scotland has gone on long enough. Now is the time to deliver change.”