John Blain Threatens Legal Action as Cricket Scotland Racism Row Intensifies: 2024 Updated

John Blain, former Yorkshire and Scotland fast bowler, threatens legal action against Cricket Scotland over allegations of racism and the board’s handling of the investigation.

Board accused of ‘craven, dishonest and vile attempt to alter history’ by former fast bowler

John Blain Threatens Legal Action as Cricket Scotland Racism Row Intensifies: 2024 Updated
Running Out Racism released a letter informing the public that Blain would not be facing disciplinary action. Getty Images

Cricket An intensifying spat with former Yorkshire and Scotland fast bowler John Blain has overshadowed Scotland’s attempts to wrap up independent investigations into claims of racist behavior.

Preempting Cricket Scotland’s official end of the process on Tuesday afternoon, Blain, who last week declared that he had been “exonerated” of racist claims dating back to 2007, issued a second statement threatening legal action against the board. He said that Cricket Scotland was “a craven, disingenuous and despicable attempt… to rewrite history a week after I was forced to go public to clear my name.”

In January of this year, Blain received a letter from the board stating that the accusations of racism against him were “unfounded”. Blain went public with his statement that the investigations “fully exonerate me” and that he has been cleared of all charges after receiving a letter from then-interim CEO Peter Fitzboydon.

However, Blain hasn’t been cleared, according to a letter from Cricket Scotland to one of the complainants. Running Out Racism, the anti-racism advocacy group that has been assisting complainants throughout the process, made the letter public. The board clarifies in it that “this procedural inability to progress these matters to a Conduct in Sport Panel is not a statement of exoneration” while explaining why Blain was not the subject of disciplinary action.

The complainant’s identity has not been disclosed, but the sports information website ESPN has spoken with the former player and corroborated both their description of the accusations and the letter they received.

Cricket Scotland made a slight but evident change from its January communication of “unfounded” to say that Blain’s cases “were not progressed further due to a combination of insufficient evidence, a lack of an applicable rule at the time of the complaint, and/or a lack of jurisdictional remit or authority to take formal action” in their own statement, which was released on Tuesday afternoon following Blain’s.

Cricket Scotland’s statement had only one particular reference, Blain’s case. The board acknowledged that it was unable to publicly address Fitzboydon’s decision to present Blain with the results of his cases in the way that he did, but it is thought that serious concerns about Blain’s welfare were brought up at the time Blain confirmed this. 

Blain claimed that the board’s “preposterous position now appears to be that they in fact lied to me out of consideration for my welfare!” Blain has already discussed the negative impact the lawsuit had on his emotional well-being.

“This latest letter from Cricket Scotland is an attempt to rewrite history and back away from a clear exoneration,” Blain stated, stressing that Fitzboydon wasn’t the only CEO who had informed him that the accusations were “unfounded.”

“Not only did Cricket Scotland CEO Pete Fitzboydon write to me in January, stating that all allegations against me were baseless, that I had no case to present, and that my case was closed, but his replacement, Trudy Lindblade, reaffirmed this stance in a phone conversation with me in February.

“She reaffirmed over the phone that the allegations against me were baseless and that the case had been closed. She will undoubtedly publicly attest to that if questioned.”

Blain said he was now considering his legal alternatives. “I will now confer with my lawyers and take all steps necessary to protect my reputation in light of this extraordinary and unsustainable about-turn.”

The ‘Changing the Boundaries’ study from 2022, which concluded that Cricket Scotland was an institutionally discriminatory organization, prompted a number of referrals, which the board formally closed into investigations on Tuesday. However, since Blain made his public statements, pressure had mounted on the board to clarify that, while he had not been cleared, they were unable to move on with disciplinary action against him.

Following Blain’s announcement, the investigation team made its first public statement in two years, clarifying that no one had been found not guilty. Additionally, as evidence of their dissatisfaction with Blain’s remarks, ESPNcricinfo has access to a letter the investigation team wrote to Cricket Scotland in which they vehemently urge the board to rectify Blain in writing regarding the results of complaints lodged against him.

At least in the redacted letter they provided to the complainant—a copy of which is accessible on ESPNcricinfo—that correction seems to have been made.

“None of these outcomes take away from the feelings that you have as a result of the incidents you reported, but they do impact on Cricket Scotland’s ability to take formal action,” the complaint letter states.

“We are keen to stress that none of the above seeks to undermine the belief that you had regarding the way that you were treated, but sets out the reasons why we will not be bringing disciplinary proceedings against John Blain.”

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

John Blain Threatens Legal Action as Cricket Scotland Racism Row Intensifies: 2024 Updated
Photo Credit: Sky Sports

Running Out Racism stated that the letter corroborates “a contradictory account provided by Cricket Scotland to one of the complainants… and demonstrates that the allegations made were not ‘unfounded’, but not investigated due to them not having rules or jurisdiction at the time.”

Cricket Scotland, along with Blain, has communicated with both complainants and respondents in all of the referrals that have been resolved thus far. He is anticipated to get clarification in his letter regarding the correspondence Fitzboydon first sent him, which outlined the reasons why disciplinary actions would not proceed.

The board finished a drawn-out, intricate two-year inquiry process by apologizing once more to all victims of bigotry and discriminatory behavior. The ‘Changing the Boundaries’ report finally resulted in 53 referrals, 51 of which have now been looked into and are now complete. For outside legal considerations, two referrals have not yet started the investigation process.

However, out of the 51 completed referrals, only five have been followed up with disciplinary action. A “clear breach of a rule that had been in place at the time of the offence,” “sufficient evidence,” and having the “requisite jurisdictional remit to proceed with the case” were among the requirements that Cricket Scotland stated the other parties had not met in order to be pursued further.

The remaining referrals have closed with a plethora of lessons (more than 250) for Cricket Scotland to consider as it endeavors to get past the report’s primary conclusion that it was an institutional racist organization.

The statement from Lindblade, the current CEO, stated that “it is clear that there are no ‘winners’ from this damaging and divisive period for cricket in Scotland.” “Since I joined in February of this year, I can say with certainty that Cricket Scotland has made a strong effort to guarantee that the mistakes of the past do not recur.

“The legacy of the referrals process will be the wholesale restructuring of Cricket Scotland for the benefit of all within our sport.”

The board has advised complainants to think about going to mediation as a next course of action. “It is the Board’s wish that reconciliation and where necessary, independent mediation is accepted by those involved, for the good of individual personal relationships and for the good of the sport in Scotland,” stated Wilf Walsh, head of Cricket Scotland.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

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