CRICKET Scotland, indeed, cricket in Scotland is profoundly racist, or so it would appear from the international coverage given to a report into this issue. But reading the stories about this “shocking” report, it seems like nobody has actually read it.

A report by Plan4Sport was released last month that publicly humiliated Cricket Scotland and branded the organisation as “institutionally racist”. This came alongside statements by lawyer Aamer Anwar that hit the headlines: One described the review as the “most devastating verdict of racism to be delivered on any sporting institution in the United Kingdom”.

Discussing what almost sounds like a form of apartheid in Scotland, Anwar argues that racism is so big a problem that it is “killing the game”. Additionally, he called those who run cricket in Scotland “dinosaurs”, and as “racists” who should be thrown out of the game.

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As evidence, Anwar held aloft the findings of the Plan4Sport report that indicated that Cricket Scotland had failed 29 of their 31 indicators of institutional racism. But what are these indicators and are Aamer Anwar’s claims of racists killing the game justified?

The 31 indices are not a recognised template of racism but were made up by Plan4Sport and read like a human resource handbook on “best practice” regarding managerial processes, practices and “transparency” regarding all matters related to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI).

Some of them relate to “EDI data” collection and correct “safeguarding policies”. Others talk not of overt racism but of “micro-aggressions”. Many relate to processes being in place for recording and monitoring these issues and address not racism as such but the need to show that you are actively anti-racist. One asks, does the “organisation keep up with changes in language relating to racism?”.

Part of the adjudication on Cricket Scotland’s racism consequently emerged because of a lack of correct paperwork or evidence of professional human resource practices that you would expect from a large corporation or state institution, rather than being based on what most of us would think of as clear examples of racists being racist.

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Plan4Sport were constantly introduced to us in the press as an “independent” organisation. However this statement is intended, in terms of their ideology and approach to the issue of racism, there is nothing independent about this group.

Rather than the overt racism and racists discussed by Anwar, Plan4Sport use the much wider, looser, and often confusing definition developed by William Macpherson who defined racism in terms of it being “unwitting” and who related to organisational ignorance or “inappropriate practices”.

There were other dimensions to the report, including an anonymous online survey. Fifteen people are said to have allegations of racism against them. It is not clear who these 15 people are, over what length of time this refers, what the allegations are and whether they were found to be accurate.

Additionally, we find two cricketers raising their own concerns about racism in the game. Majid Haq who played for Scotland 200 times and Qasim Sheikh who was captain of Clydesdale Cricket Club at the age of 22.

Haq argues that “As an ethnic minority cricketer, you need to perform twice as well as a white counterpart to get the same opportunities”. But it is clear from his statistics that Haq did not need to play twice as well to get picked for Scotland over his 13-year international career.

Sheikh experienced racist language when he was 15, an incident he explains that led to his teammates standing up for him. He also notes comments in 2010 when white players talked about “you lot”. Beyond that, he notes, “there was never any other racial slurs”.

No doubt there are some racists in cricket and some cases of discrimination and where they exist they should be called out and dealt with. Let’s name names, hold actual individuals to account, and find actual evidence. However, as far as I can see, the “brutal story” of mass racism that Anwar described as horrifying does not fit the evidence that we have, much of which, if it ever got to court, would be quickly dismissed as inadmissible.

The whole of cricket in Scotland is said to have been shamed by the Plan4Sport report. From the evidence we have, this seems deeply inaccurate and unfair. Our shame, perhaps, is less that we live in a society riddled with racism but rather that we refuse to raise questions when this label is branded onto scores of individuals whose reputations now lie in tatters.