THE entire board of Scottish cricket's governing body has resigned on the eve of the publication of a review that is today (Mon) expected to find it institutionally racist.

The Herald understands that the 50-page independent review into Cricket Scotland will reveal significant areas of concern over racism and serious failings at leadership level.

It is expected to find that the body tasked with furthering the sport suffered from systemic issues with racism.

Ahead of the damning report from 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.

Cricket Scotland said that it was “truly sorry” to anyone who was abused while playing the sport and that it will work the national agency sportscotland with immediate effect to "ensure appropriate governance, leadership and support is in place" for the sport in the days ahead.

The review was commissioned by sportscotland, which last year provided £460,000 in funding to Cricket Scotland.

It said that it would take “immediate steps to provide significant additional governance and leadership support” following the board’s resignations. after Scotland’s all-time wicket-taker Majid Haq and team-mate Qasim Sheikh reported allegations of racism in November last year.

It is understood that sportscotland will keep all options open to ensure the implementation of the recommendations in the review, including discussions about its future funding.

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

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."


He welcomed the resignations but 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, 39, 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 afer posting a race-related tweet. 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, 38, who as born in Glasgow, believes his national team team career was brought to an end for speaking out about the treatment he suffered when playing for Scotland. Mr Sheikh who has played from the age of 12 for Scotland also revealed he has since been targeted for opening up about his experiences of racism.

"It has affected my mental health. I was definitely going through depression for the two or three years after playing," he said.

After the Cricket Scotland board quit he said: "It doesn't surprise me one bit."

More than 200 people came forward to give evidence to the review which involved the carrying out of interviews with Cricket Scotland staff, national squad players and board members both past and present.

A letter of resignation was sent from the 14-member board to interim chief executive Gordon Arthur, who was only appointed less than a fortnight ago to "lead the governing body through the publication of the independent review into racism".


A spokesperson for sportscotland 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.”

In a letter sent to the interim chief executive of the governing body, they said they had not seen the contents of the report.

But they 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 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 Sheikh 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.

"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."

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 Sheikh, to name them and say they are sorry".

He said: "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."

He told Sky News: "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."

Mr Haq spoke out about suffering abuse in his career after former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq told MPs that English cricket was "institutionally" racist.

His testimony led to changes in Yorkshire's leadership, with the county's cricket ground 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.

In their resignation letter yesterday, the board of Cricket Scotland said that the review had “achieved an unparalleled level of engagement” and would be “transformative” for Scottish sport.

“The board have been totally committed to implementing the findings of this review in full to make the sport of cricket in Scotland a truly welcoming and inclusive place for all,” said the letter. “We are all truly sorry and have apologised publicly to everyone who has experienced racism, or any other form of discrimination, in cricket in Scotland.”

The directors said that they had already begun a governance overhaul and a commitment to “deliver a thorough, fair and speedy resolution to the issues raised about racism”.

The letter added: “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.”