Cricket Scotland’s Racism Investigations: Clarifying Misconceptions and Emphasizing Learnings- 2024 Updated

Cricket Scotland has recently come under renewed scrutiny regarding allegations of racist behavior within its ranks, following the publication of the McKinney Report in March 2024.

Contrary to claims of ‘exoneration,’ the investigating team has clarified their role and objectives in addressing over 50 referrals related to alleged racist behavior within Scottish cricket.

Cricket Scotland’s Racism Investigations: Clarifying Misconceptions and Emphasizing Learnings- 2024 Updated
Cricket Scotland is currently facing additional scrutiny following John Blain's declaration that he was "exonerated" of any racism-related charges. Getty Images

Following an independent review in July 2022 that concluded Cricket Scotland was institutionally racist, two law firms, Harper Macleod LLP and Bishop Lloyd Jackson Solicitors, along with the race inclusion charity Sporting Equals, have been looking into more than fifty referrals, or individual complaints of alleged racist behavior, over the past year.

The group sent its first statement to the public on Friday. It was in response to John Blain’s statement earlier in the week, in which the former Yorkshire and Scotland fast bowler stated he had been acquitted of charges of racist behaviour earlier this year, albeit no specific names were identified. A “full and transparent inquiry” into people in charge of national cricket, according to Blain, is demanded.

The results of the investigation, according to Blain, “fully exonerate me.” He also released a letter from Pete Fitzboydon, the interim CEO of Cricket Scotland, informing him that the accusations against him were “unfounded,” but asking that he keep the details private so that the complainants have time to learn the truth. Five months after receiving the letter, Blain stated he was forced to make his statement due to Cricket Scotland’s “delay and prevarication” in becoming public.

The investigating team, however, emphasized in its statement that it had not been its responsibility to “make findings of fact, nor to pronounce guilt, nor to exonerate or pronounce as innocent any person against whom allegations had been made”. Consequently, it was declared that neither in any of their reports had they “exonerated” any individual, nor had they reported “in any way to the Board of Cricket Scotland to suggest that an individual was “exonerated” or equivalent”.

Rather, the investigating team maintained that its job was to find “learning lessons,” of which it claimed to have found over 250 so far across 51 referrals. Over the past year, Cricket Scotland has been disclosing some of these lessons on its website as batches of referrals have come to an end.

After speaking with more than 170 individuals and witnesses thus far, the investigators acknowledged the challenges involved in investigating these charges, some of which date back almost two decades. It was “universally a complex task” because of the nature of the discrimination charges, which required “having to consider competing accounts”.

The fact that there haven’t been any disciplinary actions taken thus far, according to the investigators, doesn’t invalidate the allegations; rather, it highlights the challenges associated with conducting these kinds of investigations, which include issues with inadequate governance and procedures, the historical nature of certain violations, incidents that fall outside Cricket Scotland’s purview, and instances where disciplinary action has already been taken.

Cricket Scotland was to take any action resulting from the referrals, the investigators made clear.

Also Read: Cricket Controversies and Scandals: A Deep Dive into the Sport’s Darker Side- 2024 Updated

Cricket Scotland’s Racism Investigations: Clarifying Misconceptions and Emphasizing Learnings- 2024 Updated
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Tony Brian, the former chairman of the Cricket Scotland board, has been among those who have criticized the 2022 “Changing the Boundaries” study that caused the board to resign in unison. Brian has expressed dissatisfaction with the review’s methodology and conclusions on numerous occasions, labeling it “fatally flawed” and requesting a government investigation into the review’s construction.

Between 2015 and 2022, when Brian served as chair, several of the accusations made by former players Majid Haq and Qasim Sheikh—whose testimony served as the basis for the review—occurred. The investigative team, however, vehemently supported the study, stating that the conclusions of “Changing the Boundaries” “echoed” results in their own investigations.

The Investigation Team found evidence of inadequate governance, inadequate or nonexistent policies and procedures to address racism complaints, unsuitable or nonexistent support for complainants and/or whistleblowers, and shortcomings in implementing suitable diversity, equity, and inclusion policies. Undoubtedly, these conditions played a role in the quantity and scope of complaints that followed, in which race was mentioned as a factor in the accusations made.”

The investigators asked everyone involved in the game to accept the recommendations in the report, as well as their own suggested lessons learned. They also asked them to acknowledge that the game had excluded far too many people who were subjected to “unacceptable behaviors” and had no way to voice their complaints.

Tensions surrounding the probes have resurfaced as the men’s national team gets ready to play Australia in St. Lucia for the T20 World Cup, with the opportunity to advance to the Super Eight stage in their own hands. Even if England manage to upset Namibia on Saturday, Scotland will advance if they avoid loss on Sunday night.

The investigators’ decision to make a public statement, however, will only put further strain on Cricket Scotland—who were also criticized by Haq and Sheikh last week for their part in the incidents that resulted in Blain’s statement. Additionally, it will come under closer examination for its correspondence from January, in which Fitzboydon informed Blain, “As advised, these allegations have not been founded, and there is no case to answer, so this matter is now considered closed.”

In response to Blain’s earlier statement, the board had said it would “continue to respect that independent process [of investigations], with the welfare of all involved as a priority, in order that we can reach a conclusion that enables our sport to move forward with unity.”
Further comment, the board said, would come at the end of the investigative process.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *