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Silence of Scotland’s white cricket players ‘deeply shameful’ claims lawyer

Lawyer Aamer Anwar has hit out at the lack of support from white cricketers in Scotland for two men who accused Cricket Scotland of racism (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Lawyer Aamer Anwar has hit out at the lack of support from white cricketers in Scotland for two men who accused Cricket Scotland of racism (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The failure of Scotland’s white players to speak out following a damning report on racism within the sport is “deeply shameful”, according to a lawyer representing two men connected to the probe.

Cricket Scotland has been placed into special measures after an independent review published on Monday identified 448 instances of institutional racism, with the board having resigned en masse the previous day.

The review by consultancy firm Plan4Sport was commissioned last year following allegations from former Scotland internationals Majid Haq and Qasim Sheikh.

The men’s lawyer, Aamer Anwar, released a statement on Wednesday criticising the lack of public comment from Scotland’s white players ahead of a T20 international against New Zealand in Edinburgh.

Cricket Scotland Racism Report Press Conferences
Left to right, Majid Haq, Aamer Anwar and Qasim Sheikh spoke out after the report was published on Monday (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“Since the board resigned and the publication of the devastating indictment of Cricket Scotland, the white players in the Scotland team have yet to provide any real solidarity to the victims of racism, including their fellow team-mates Hamza Tahir and Safyaan Sharif,” Anwar said.

“Their attitude is deeply shameful (and) the fact that last year the team were taking the knee can now only be described as tokenism.”

Anwar also criticised Cricket Scotland’s interim chief executive, Gordon Arthur, for not apologising in person to his clients and offered him the opportunity to do so at Wednesday’s match, which Anwar said they would attend.

Anwar added: “Many of the dinosaurs who remain at the heart of Cricket Scotland claim to love the game, in fact their racism is killing the game, our cricket grounds should be packed with families and communities cheering on their diverse teams who are picked to play on merit, but sadly they are not.

“If these racists think that they can ignore what has happened, then they should be under no illusion that there is no turning back, they represent (the) past and should have no role on the future of Scottish Cricket.”

The review, titled Changing the Boundaries, found the governing body had failed on 29 out of 31 indicators of institutional racism.

From an anonymous survey, 122 people reported experiencing racial discrimination and 49 people reported experiencing discrimination on grounds of religion or belief.

Most (62 per cent) of the survey respondents had experienced, seen or received reports of racism or other forms of discrimination.

From conversations, 68 individual concerns have been referred for further investigation, including 31 allegations of racism against 15 people, two clubs and one regional association.

Some cases have been referred to Police Scotland, some to Children First and others to Cricket Scotland. No other details were given but one person has already appeared in court.

The allegations include racial abuse, use of inappropriate language, favouritism towards white children from public schools and a lack of a transparent selection process.

A Cricket Scotland spokesperson said: “Gordon Arthur has met with Majid Haq and Qasim Sheikh today at the Scotland vs New Zealand T20 international.

“He has had a very constructive discussion about resolving the issues that have come out of the Review into Racism, and has apologised for the time it has taken to get to this stage and the impact it has had on them and their families.

“They have agreed to meet within the next week and have a shared commitment to ensure cricket in Scotland is a truly welcoming sport with equal opportunities for everyone.”