Cricket Scotland’s claims of EDI progress dismissed as ’empty soundbites’

Cricket Scotland remains “unfit for purpose” despite claiming to have made progress in improving equality, diversity and inclusion, according to the lawyer representing former international players.

Aamer Anwar represents Majid Haq and Qasim Sheikh, who last year alleged the governing body was “institutionally racist”.

The entire Cricket Scotland board resigned on the eve of the publication of a damning independent report in July which outlined hundreds of instances of institutional racism within the organisation.

Majid Haq (left) and Qasim Sheikh
Majid Haq (left) and Qasim Sheikh (Andrew Milligan/PA).

A new chairman, Anjan Luthra, and interim chief executive Gordon Arthur were appointed to oversee a restructure of the organisation.

On the day it was announced Arthur was stepping down for personal reasons, Cricket Scotland issued an update from Luthra, which said the “formation of an EDI board sub-committee, along with the creation of an anti-racism and EDI advisory group reporting into the sub-committee, shows the progress made in imprinting an EDI focus upon the organisation”.

However, Anwar said it was time the organisation was put in “special measures”.

He said in a statement: “Despite the horrific exposure of institutional racism, Cricket Scotland’s empty soundbites today shows that it remains unfit for purpose.

“Both Majid Haq and Qasim Sheikh are sad to see the chief executive Gordon Arthur step down, he was a man who genuinely fought for change to take place.

“My clients both Majid and Qasim believe the chair has failed to deliver or inspire genuine confidence from across the sport and they regard the process as little more than an ‘arrogant, cosmetic box-ticking exercise’.

“It’s time that sportscotland stepped in with special measures, the only winners today are institutional racism and the dinosaurs who now appear even more entrenched.”

A statement from Running Out Racism was equally scathing.

It read: “The release by Cricket Scotland today has set back trust significantly and demonstrated that the governing body is failing in learning from the mistakes of the past.

“In order to address the issues in the sport, they must meaningfully engage with people. Not just Running Out Racism, but the wider cricketing community.

“Today’s release flies in the face of that. It is tone deaf and arrogant.

“To say they have significantly upgraded our approach to EDI is unsubstantiated nonsense. Unless that substantial upgrade is referring to ticking boxes as opposed to the previous strategy of ignoring the problem. They continue to ignore the very people who have been ignored for so long.

“To cite the EDI working group as an achievement is frankly embarrassing. At the first meeting in January, formed after five months of faffing around, some members of the group raised significant concerns around the intent of the governing body to meaningfully engage with people who have expertise in this area.

“Following that the governing body put out a positive update, which was astounding to some who sat in that same meeting, and has subsequently ignored the group. None of today’s changes have made it to that group for consultation. A group that took five months to form and has only met once.”

A spokesperson for sportscotland said: “We are considering the various points raised in Cricket Scotland’s latest update.

“We welcome the progress that has been made to date, but we are clear that only by engaging in real and meaningful consultation will cultural change be delivered within the sport.

“The final decision on whether Cricket Scotland exits special measures will be taken by sportscotland and will be dependent on all recommendations from the Changing The Boundaries report being met in full.”