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David Sole: Cricket’s big failings are a wake-up call for all sports

© Colorsport/ShutterstockJoe Ansbro in Calcutta Cup action against England a decade ago
Joe Ansbro in Calcutta Cup action against England a decade ago

Scottish sport has been rocked by a review into Cricket Scotland, which concluded that the governance and leadership of the sport in Scotland was institutionally racist.

The inquiry heard 448 reports of racism in the game, and the governing body failed 29 of the 31 tests used to measure the scale of the problem – and only just passed on the other two.

The revelation cast a long, dark shadow on the game in Scotland.

It should also have been a real wake-up call to other sports across the country.

Racism will not be confined to one sport.

It is endemic in the society in which we live. But given the attraction of cricket to ethnic minority populations in this country, the issues have been amplified.

All sports, including rugby, should be checking over their policies and procedures to ensure that they are taking appropriate measures to ensure that such special measures aren’t applied to them.

What’s more, sportscotland should be reviewing the extent to which they scrutinise these policies before they make grants to governing bodies, along with the performance criteria that are set before funding is granted.

The measures aren’t always met, and yet taxpayers’ money finds its way to the sport’s governing bodies.

Rugby is a sport that has the resources and infrastructure to ensure that such policies and procedures are in place at all levels of the game.

But whether these are sufficient to change behaviours is a moot point.

Yes, Scottish Rugby was the first to have a female president in Dee Bradbury.

However, at grass-roots level, women have been ignored from invitations to lunches before matches, the committee rooms often being the preserve of men alone.

Certainly, that was the case during my time as honorary president of Edinburgh Accies, when my wife, Jane, had to dine without me.

Does that practice continue at clubs around the country? If so, that is wrong.

Of course, this can be an innocent mistake, or oversight, not to invite women to committee lunches. But the impact is far-reaching.

There are very few players from ethnic minorities in the Scottish game, even after Alfred Clunies-Ross played in the first-ever international match in 1871.

Joe Ansbro was the first player of African origin to play for Scotland’s men’s team, and Panashe Muzambe the first to play for the women’s team.

But there are few of South Asian descent in the game.

Is this because the game isn’t attractive to these populations – or are there other issues at play?

In cricket, it is the “other issues” that have been highlighted in the most recent report, in such a damaging way for the sport.

It is a stark wake-up call for rugby, and other sports across Scotland, to ensure that equal opportunities really do exist for all.

And, most importantly, that attitudes change for the better of the game, and society.