The under-fire chief executive of Scottish cricket's governing body who stood down following an internal investigation into bullying and during a probe that found institutional racism in his organisation has received a payoff.

Gus Mackay had been on extended leave for four months from Cricket Scotland after allegations were made by staff about a culture of bullying within the organisation before Cricket Scotland said that he "has decided to leave to pursue other opportunities".

Mr Mackay, a 55-year-old former Zimbabwe international who took over from Malcolm Cannon in 2019, was put on extended leave last year after complaints were made by multiple current staff members about an “aggressive, confrontational” style which left employees feeling “devalued, vulnerable and not supported”.

When Mr Mackay, left at the end of February, an investigation into racism allegations was over two months old.

When he left, Cricket Scotland gave a brief statement, thanking Mr Mackay and saying he "has decided to leave to pursue other opportunities".

Last weekend the six-man board of Cricket Scotland collectively stood down on the eve of the findings of an independent review into Cricket Scotland which uncovered "institutional racism".

The six were interim chairman Sue Strachan, president Phil Yelland and directors Sheelagh Duffield, Jonathan Kemp, Colin Mitchell and Douglas Lockhart.

The review found 448 examples of institutional racism within the sport's governing body which failed on 29 out of 31 indicators of institutional racism.

Plan4Sport, which carried out the review, also said 31 allegations of racism were made against 15 different people, two clubs and one regional association. Some cases have been referred to Police Scotland.It was, according to the chief executive of sportscotland, Stewart Harris, one of the 'darkest days in Scottish sporting history'.


Majid Haq during a press conference in Stirling.

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

The review also uncovered issues including misogyny, leadership and governance concerns.

Now the Herald on Sunday has found that Cricket Scotland are expected to incur a cost over Mr Mackay's departure.

But it was not considered that its disclosure was important enough to involve an adjustment to its latest financial statement for the year to the end of December, last year.

The board have described it as a "non-adjusting event" - which relates to new information emerging after the financial year which it considered not to be material, meaning it felt it did not have to declare its financial effect.

Under accounting rules, non-adjusting events should be disclosed if it is of such importance that non-disclosure would affect the economic and financial decisions of users.

The Herald on Sunday understands that Cricket Scotland agreed a financial settlement with Mr Mackay around which there is a legal confidentiality agreement.

Cricket Scotland has declined to divulge the details of any severance package.

A spokesman for Cricket Scotland said: “It would be inappropriate for us to talk about individual employee’s circumstances – past or present. Cricket Scotland cannot comment on matters relating to past employees."

When Mr Mackay stepped down, Tony Brian, the chairman of Cricket Scotland, said: "We thank Gus for his hard work and commitment, particularly for the part he played in the success of the men's and women's national teams on the international stage last year, and wish him well for the future."

Some of those staff affected by Mr Mackay’s behaviour were understood to be bitterly disappointed with the tone of the statement released, believing Cricket Scotland have “brushed the matter under the carpet” rather than tackling concerns full-on.

Mr Brian stood down five days later with the governing body saying he retired for health reasons.


Despite the review findings, both Mr Harris and the interim chief executive of Cricket Scotland Gordon Arthur (above)  had been reluctant to apologise personally last week's press conference to either of the whistleblowers, Majid Haq or Qasim Sheikh, for the racism they alleged they had suffered during their time playing for Scotland.

Cricket Scotland say that Mr Arthur has since met with the pair "to offer a personal apology".

Mr Arthur had said after the devastating report that he would "lead the change that is required to ensure that we rapidly change the governance at every level of the sport".

The lawyer representing the two players has raised serious doubts over whether any of the leadership of Cricket Scotland will now be accountable for what happened, and raised serious questions over whether the governing body will learn lessons from the scandal.

And he said that the First Minister should make a statement about the scandal.

He said that Cricket Scotland should release anyone who has been tied to a confidentiality agreement adding: "Why are payoffs being covered up?"

Both Mr Haq and Mr Sheikh 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."

Mr Sheikh, 38, who was 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.

Mr Haq and Mr Sheikh first spoke out about being treated differently by Scottish cricket's governing body in November, last year, after former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq told MPs that English cricket was "institutionally" racist, having first launching a legal claim under the Equality Act in December 2020.

Mr Rafiq's 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.


Qasim Sheikh, Aamer Anwar and Majid Haq (left-right) arrived for a press conference at Stirling Court Hotel, Stirling

In December, last year, Cricket Scotland said it was appointing a team of independent experts to carry out a full review of racism within Scottish cricket.

Mr Anwar said: "This wasn't just a question of racism, nobody has even tackled the issue of misogyny in Cricket Scotland. That almost seems to have been brushed under the carpet.

"We had an issue with Majid with a gagging clause, which we eventually got lifted in March and we said go ahead and sue if you want to, he is going to speak anyway.

"How many confidentiality clauses and non-disclosure agreements have been tied up by Cricket Scotland. Was there any over sexism and misogyny. How many payoffs, what were they?

"Why didn't the board [who resigned] wait for the process of the inquiry. They have even removed any remnants of their involvement. People ask who was on the board.

"They escape accountability. They actually sabotage the inquiry and any further investigations, and that is the real concern.

"If they are no longer in the service of Cricket Scotland, there is no onus on them to have to speak.

"The due process is yet to complete. If they were genuinely committed to due process, then how come they didn't remain in post to see that through.

"It doesn't wash that a handful of members of the board resigned and that's it we can move on. "Key players are still involved in clubs, selection and performance direction."

The investigation found that some clubs cited concerns about teams with a majority of South-East Asian players speaking in their own community language during matches. The inference made was that players were cheating by doing this and should only be allowed to speak in English.

Plan4Sport found this to be an example of a "lack of cultural awareness in some clubs and is unsure why this presents a problem to teams with predominantly white players".

Mr Anwar was concerned that a number of racism referrals with serious allegations made had been lying on Cricket Scotland's desk for a considerable time and nothing had been done with them.

"What have they been doing for the last several months?" he said.

Mr Anwar also criticised sportscotland, which commissioned the independent review and is overseeing a move to appropriate governance and leadership in the wake of the findings. It has 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.

The report calls for change, recommending that Cricket Scotland be placed in special measures by sportscotland until at least October 2023 and that an urgent review is carried out into its governance.

New board members should also be recruited for Cricket Scotland, with efforts to ensure a minimum of 25% of members coming from black, south-east Asian, or other mixed or multiple ethnic groups.

"What have sportscotland been doing for the last decade and the fact they didn't know what was going on.

"Why not just bluntly say, they will withdraw funding if they don't do this [change]. "It is almost like a gentleman's club that continues as normal. They have been found out, and caught out but it cannot be business as usual.

"Everyone has the right to know, how will they will conduct those investigations, how will they hold them to account. Please declare it, as we no longer have any trust in the system."

He feared tokenistic appointments from the black and Asian community who will act as "yes men or women".

"That won't please anybody," he said.


A sportscotland spokesman said: “Lessons have to be learned and the Changing the Boundaries report has been a wake up call for all in Scottish sport. We accept we should have identified these issues earlier within cricket and we are now re-doubling our efforts to work with our SGBs to ensure EDI is of the highest priority for them.”

“We take our leadership role seriously and on Tuesday we met with around 50 representatives from the SGBs to discuss our shared commitment to tackling this issue. There is no doubt that we all have to work much harder to make sport more inclusive and available to all and this is an important moment to consider our individual and collective efforts to achieve greater access to physical activity and sport."

A Cricket Scotland spokesman added: Gordon Arthur met with Majid Haq and Qasim Sheikh at the Scotland vs New Zealand T20 match on Wednesday.

"He 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."

Sport minister Maree Todd said: “The sheer scale of institutional racism found by the review within Scottish Cricket is shocking. The Scottish Government is absolutely clear that there is no place for racism or discrimination of any kind in sport, or indeed wider society.

“Racism and racial inequalities do still exist within sport in Scotland, as they do across society, and these are longstanding issues which have resulted in ethnically diverse communities being consistently disadvantaged. This has to change.

“I will hold a further meeting with Scottish Cricket to discuss the findings of the review and their timescales for implementing the recommendations. Swift and decisive action must be taken to ensure that racism, of any kind, will not happen within cricket, or any sport in Scotland.”