From the moment Stewart Harris, sportscotland’s Chief Executive said in a press release in November 2021 that: “it is clear something must be done about the problem of racism in Scottish cricket,” there was only ever going to be one outcome.
This was before Plan4Sport’s independent review had even been commissioned, as were the public admissions of guilt and apology from the former Board of Cricket Scotland.
Perhaps, therefore, no-one should be surprised at the findings but what may have taken some aback is the extent of the problem: 448 examples of institutional racism, of the 31 indicators Cricket Scotland failed to meet the standard in 29, 68 individual concerns have been referred for further review. The sorry list goes on.
Yet, there is light at the end of the tunnel, not least of which is that Cricket Scotland has undertaken to implement the recommendations contained in the report as a matter of priority.
In her summary of the findings Louise Tideswell, Plan4Sport’s Managing Director noted: “But I also want to add that whilst the governance and leadership practices of the organisation have been institutionally racist, the same should not be said of cricket in Scotland. There are many outstanding clubs and individuals delivering local programmes which truly engage with diverse communities.”
There was also significant support for the findings of the report with many clubs taking to social media to air their views.
Western Premier champions Clydesdale typified the response in tweeting: “the racism review may be a difficult read but the need to move the game into a safe, fair place for all remains paramount. We will continue to promote inclusion in the game.”
Meanwhile, Majid Haq who was one of the first players to speak out about the problem of racism in Scottish cricket, is cautiously optimistic that the report may lead to a brighter future.
He said: “I’m relieved today is over and the report has vindicated what I said all along.
“More than that I hope that the recommendations will lead to a fairer playing field for all and that the current and next generation of Asian players will get a better chance.
“They always used to say you had to be twice as good as a white player to have any chance of getting in the team and that should never be the case.
“I’d also like to see Scottish cricket run by good human beings – normal, decent people that you can go and speak to and know that you’ll get the support you need.
“It’s brilliant to see Saffy (Sharif) and Hamza (Tahir) in the men’s team and Abtaha (Maqsood) in the women’s team all doing so well but there should be more.
“If there is a good legacy to come out of what Qasim and I have done it will be that young Asian players get better opportunities.
“But time will tell.”
If Haq’s final remark cast a little doubt as to the long-term picture for Scottish cricket, the immediate future is clear, at least for the senior men’s team who tomorrow will take on New Zealand in the first of two T20Is at the Grange.
Richie Berrington’s side also go head-to-head with the Black Caps in a single ODI on Sunday with the opportunity to put a much-needed smile back on the game which, as Plan4Sport’s report acknowledged, is loved by so many.