Cricket Scotland board resigns ahead of independent report into racism release

The board members say they stepped down to allow new governance structures to be created in order to implement the report’s recommendations.

By Press Association Published: 24 July 2022 - 2.04pm

The entire Cricket Scotland board resigned 24 hours before an independent report is set to outline institutional racism within the sport and governing body.

The board members say they stepped down to allow new governance structures to be created in order to implement the report’s recommendations.

Consultancy firm Plan4Sport was appointed by sportscotland, the national agency for sport, to begin conducting the review in December last year after former Scotland players Majid Haq and Qasim Sheikh alleged the governing body was “institutionally racist”.

In a letter to recently-appointed interim chief executive Gordon Arthur, the board members stated they had been fully committed to implementing the review’s findings and had made “important initial steps” to improving the leadership and governance of the sport.

The letter added: “These two programmes of work, one to deliver a thorough, fair and speedy resolution to the issues raised about racism, and the other to overhaul and modernise the governance of the sport are individually huge challenges for a small organisation like Cricket Scotland.

“We acknowledge the significant support received from sportscotland to date, and we know that they will continue to work in partnership to ensure speedy progress going forward.

“However, while the board has not been given sight of the review report, it is now aware of the proposed timescales and of certain mandated actions proposed within the report that it believes make the delivery of these two programmes unachievable within the timetable proposed and the current governance framework.

“Consequently, we believe we must now step aside to enable the required progress to be made in the coming months.”

The board members, who said they were “truly sorry” to everyone who had experienced racism or other forms of discrimination in Scottish cricket, claimed the “transformative” review would provide a “watershed moment for Scottish sport and society in general”.

Douglas Lockhart
Former Scotland player Douglas Lockhart was on the board (Rui Vieira/PA)

“We wish everyone in Cricket Scotland every success and hope that the sport of cricket will emerge from this review implementation period into a new, transformed and truly welcoming environment that will enable it to flourish at every level in the years ahead,” they added.

The current Cricket Scotland board members listed on Companies House website are Sue Strachan, who was appointed interim chair in April, plus Sheelagh Duffield, Jonathan Kemp, Douglas Lockhart and Colin Mitchell.

Phil Yelland was appointed president in April. Gordon McKinnie quit earlier this month while Angela Casey, former chairman Tony Brian and ex-chief executive Gus Mackay left the board earlier this year.

A spokesperson for sportscotland, whose sports development head, John Lunn, acted as interim chief executive for Cricket Scotland for several months this year, said: “This has been an exceptionally challenging time for everyone involved in Scottish cricket.

“We have been made aware of the board’s decision and as the national agency for sport, we will take immediate steps to provide significant additional governance and leadership support to Cricket Scotland.”

An interim report in April revealed that the review had resulted in police involvement. Referrals were made to Children First, Police Scotland plus HR and legal experts to ensure allegations of racism were investigated fully. Other issues including “misogyny, leadership, and governance concerns” also surfaced.

Staff and consultants working on the review have spoken to more than 200 people, including international players, and several hundred more have taken part in an anonymous online survey.

Lawyer Aamer Anwar said: “We expect the report to deliver a devastating indictment of an institutionally racist Cricket Scotland and a total vindication of the allegations made by my clients Majid Haq and Qasim Sheikh, as well as the many victims who chose to come forward.

“Since the investigation was set up, both Majid Haq and Qasim Sheikh have been at the heart of exposing institutional racism to this investigation.”

Anwar later added on Twitter that his clients welcomed the mass resignations after the board were accused of being “dysfunctional, institutionally racist & presiding over a culture of humiliation & bullying”.

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