THE lawyer representing two players at the centre of a Cricket Scotland racism 'scandal' has said that the board's resignation is "not enough".

The entire board quit with immediate effect on Sunday before the publication of a sportscotland-commissioned independent review that is expected to find that there is evidence of institutional racism.

It was conducted after Scotland’s all-time wicket-taker Majid Haq and team-mate Qasim Sheikh reported allegations of racism in November last year.

Aamer Anwar, the Scots lawyer representing the two players, said of the body: "They couldn't see racism if it hit them in the face."

And he criticised Cricket Scotland for failing to publicly apologise to Mr Haq and Mr Sheikh, who he said should be recruited to the board having been what he called "a catalyst for change".

Both players have reported historic incidents of racism and discrimination which they believe led to the premature end of their international careers.

Mr Haq, born in Paisley and is Pakistani descent, represented Scotland on more than 200 occasions but did not play again after being sent home from the 2015 World Cup. At the time, he hinted he felt victimised on grounds of race.

Mr Haq said last year: "A lot of people have asked me if I think Cricket Scotland are institutionally racist - I think they are. An investigation would show that they are."

Mr Sheikh, born in Glasgow, was also ostracised for speaking out against the hierarchy, criticising then coach Peter Streindle for being dropped after successive centuries against Ireland and Kent in the Intercontinental Cup. The last of his seven one day international outings came in 2010.

He said he was racially abused while playing at the age of 15 but that his team-mates backed him up. He also insisted "the majority" of people he played with were very inclusive.

However, he did disclose that there were incidences where he felt uncomfortable.

During the review a number of referrals and allegations were passed to a number of organisations including Police Scotland.

Ahead of what is expected to be a damning report by equality and diversity specialists Plan4Sport, Cricket Scotland announced that the board had resigned, and a complete review will look to change the “governance, leadership and support” structures that have failed several players within the game.


Majid Haq labelled Cricket Scotland "institutionally racist."

Cricket Scotland said it would work in partnership with sportscotland with immediate effect to ensure appropriate governance, leadership and support is in place for the organisation and the sport in the days ahead.

“These arrangements will be reviewed after the publication of the report into racism in cricket in Scotland and updates given accordingly," the board said.

Mr Anwar said the resignations were a "total vindication" of his clients.

He said Scottish cricket owed a "debt of gratitude" to the likes of Mr Haq and Mr Shiekh who he said had "given their whole lives to playing cricket in Scotland, and yet they saw their careers stripped away from them and their dreams shattered".

But he said the resignations were not enough.

"Who controls cricket in Scotland? What you're talking about is selectors, what you're talking about is some of the umpires, what you're talking about is the boards of local leagues," said Mr Anwar. "That's how Cricket Scotland operate.

"So yes, it's a it's a good step. To be honest, I don't think they could have done anything else because up to two days ago when we met Plan4Sport who conducted the independent investigation, we called for the resignation of the board of Cricket Scotland. I don't think they could have done any less and I suspect very much when the the full publication report takes place, tomorrow, we will see a whole series of recommendations that means that they couldn't have done anything else but.

"There has been no real accountability, there has been no transparency, there are individuals who were responsible for racism who are responsible for the exclusion and discrimination that took place over a period of years that are still in control. They are responsible for selection, they are responsible for the disciplinary committees.

"I for one cannot see how those who are accused of racism, how those who are found guilty of racism, of institutional racism can be expected or trusted to carry out change. They couldn't see racism if it hits them in the face. Two hundred and twenty five years of history and they have to be dragged kicking and screaming.

"How can you have an organisation that talks about governance, how can you have an organisation that talks about diversity and bringing about change, when they have never delivered anything in any concept robustly fighting discrimination or fighting racism."

An interim report, released in April, revealed that more than 200 people had come forward to give evidence.

It is understood SportScotland was extremely concerned by the review's findings and have been keeping all options on the table, including the withdrawal of funding to Cricket Scotland. It provided more than £500,000 to Cricket Scotland between 2019 and 2020.

Mr Anwar asked why Cricket Scotland did "not have the courage and the decency and the integrity to publicly apologise once and for all to Mr Haq and Mr Shiekh, to name them and say they are sorry".


He told Sky News: "They resigned on the eve of the publication. They didn't even wait for the publication of the report. We haven't said yet what we have seen in the report, what we've heard that's in the report, yet they they stepped aside straightaway. Why didn't they wait till tomorrow?

He added: "They no longer have the confidence of the communities that played cricket in Scotland. It doesn't reflect diversity. The people who will bring about change are those who have fought for change.

"And I have to say, what is the problem with Cricket Scotland. You go through the board and you go through the leadership and you look at it and it's practically all white.

"How can you claim to reflect diversity inequality, when you actually don't have those faces reflecting diversity and inequality. "If they want experience and they want role models, the best people that I could think that they could actually bring forward are Majid Haq and Qasim Sheikh and offer them positions on the board. and say to them, you have been a catalyst for change, you have been role models, you have refused to sit back, you have fought for future generations and we owe you a debt of gratitude and you can start by saying to them, join the board of Cricket Scotland."

In a letter to the interim chief executive Gordon Arthur, the board wrote that "we are all truly sorry" to everyone who has experienced racism, and "we believe we must now step aside to enable the required progress to be made in the coming months".

The board said they had not seen the contents of the report but had been made aware of "proposed timescales and certain mandated actions" in the document.

They raised concerns that plans to find a speedy resolution to the racism issues, and to modernise the governance of the sport were "unachievable within the timetable proposed and the current governance framework".

Mr Haq revealed last year that he had suffered abuse in his career.

He represented Scotland on more than 200 occasions but did not play again after being sent home from the 2015 World Cup. At the time he hinted he felt victimised on grounds of race.

"As an ethnic minority cricketer, you need to perform twice as well as a white counterpart to get the same opportunities," he said in November.

He spoke out after former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq told MPs that English cricket was "institutionally" racist.

His testimony led to changes in Yorkshire's leadership, Headingley being temporarily stripped of hosting international matches, and the England and Wales Cricket Board putting together a 12-point plan to tackle racism in the game.