Changing The Boundaries: Independent review into racism in Scottish cricket

Plan4Sport, the organisation leading an independent review into racism in Scottish cricket, has today (Monday 25 July) published its final report.

Global Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) experts, Plan4Sport, were commissioned by Scotland’s national agency for sport, sportscotland, to lead the independent review in December 2021. The review process included almost 1,000 direct engagements from a broad cross-section of all levels of Scottish cricket.

The Plan4Sport Changing The Boundaries report found the governance and leadership practices of Cricket Scotland to be institutionally racist. It confirms 448 examples that demonstrated institutional racism. Reoccurring themes were mapped against 31 indicators of institutional racism, with 29 failing to meet the standard required and only two partially meeting the standard.

As part of the review 68 individual concerns have been referred for further investigation. These relate to 31 allegations of racism against 15 different people, two clubs and one Regional Association. In some instances, multiple concerns have been raised against individuals. Some of these alleged incidents are recent while others were non-recent. These investigations will be concluded in due course.

Other key findings include:

  • 62% of all survey respondents had experienced, seen, or had reported to them incidents of racism, inequalities or discrimination.
  • A lack of any EDI or anti-racist training in place for board, staff, volunteers, players, coaches or umpires.
  • No consistent mechanism or process for handling racist incidents and people who did raise issues were sidelined or ignored.
  • A lack of diversity from board level and Hall of Fame right through the coaching workforce within the talent pathway.
  • Lack of transparency in the selection process in the talent pathway and the absence of a single uniform approach to selection.

Changing The Boundaries includes three immediate high-level recommendations, with associated sub recommendations, including: 

  • Cricket Scotland is placed in special measures by sportscotland until at least October 2023.
    • Cricket Scotland to commence an immediate recruitment process for new independent Board members, with appointments made no later than 30 September 2022.
    • The diversity of Board members should be a minimum of 40% men and 40% women, ensuring that a minimum of 25% of the total Board makeup come from of Black, South-East Asian, or other mixed or multiple ethnic groups.
    • Action Plan to be developed by Cricket Scotland which addresses the immediate actions and short-term KPIs. The Action Plan should be approved by sportscotland not later than 30 September 2022.
  • Western District Cricket Union (WDCU) is placed in special measures by Cricket Scotland with immediate effect.
    • Temporary and immediate suspension of WDCU’s role in managing all disciplinary matters relating to its competitions and clubs. These are to be handed to an alternative organisation to manage.
  • Cricket Scotland addresses the backlog in referrals generated from the review.
    • All investigations resulting from referrals to be expedited by a third party with the appropriate expertise.

Managing Director of Plan4Sport, Louise Tideswell, said: “We’ve been working on the review since January this year and our view is clear: the governance and leadership practices of Cricket Scotland have been institutionally racist. 

“Over the review period we have seen the bravery of so many people coming forward to share their stories which had clearly impacted on their lives. People who have loved cricket and, despite the many knockbacks, continued to try and make progress, umpires who committed so many hours even though promotion never came, and players who saw or heard racism and hostility, but kept coming back to play.

“The reality is that the leadership of the organisation failed to see the problems and, in failing to do so, enabled a culture of racially aggravated micro-aggressions to develop. It didn’t address the lack of diversity at board and staff level and missed the need to develop transparent reporting, investigation and case management processes to address incidents of racism and discrimination.

“But I also want to add that whilst the governance and leadership practices of the organisation have been institutionally racist, the same should not be said for cricket in Scotland. There are many outstanding clubs and individuals delivering local programmes which truly engage with diverse communities.

“We have heard from grassroots players, volunteers and umpires who were passionate about ensuring cricket was open and welcoming to everyone. Plan4Sport sees this as a real opportunity to invest in and build on the good work already taking place through development programmes and club opportunities to truly create a game for everyone.”

Chief Executive of sportscotland, Stewart Harris, said: “We would like to thank everyone who contributed to the review, particularly those who came forward to share their experiences. This will have been a very difficult, and in some cases traumatic experience, and we hope this report provides the victims with some degree of assurance that their voices have been heard and that action will be taken.

“We also want to thank Louise Tideswell and the team of experts from Plan4Sport, who have worked tirelessly over the past seven months. They have shown an incredible degree of professionalism, compassion and empathy when speaking to the hundreds of people who contributed to the Changing The Boundaries report.

“The findings in this report are deeply concerning and in some cases shocking. Sport should be a welcoming place for all and it is unacceptable that anyone has suffered racist abuse and discrimination while playing the game they love.

“As the national agency for sport, we will work with and support Cricket Scotland to help change the culture of Scottish cricket and that must now be the focus. There has been some progress in recent months but we need to see more steps being taken to address the issues raised and importantly that includes the referrals.  

“We will keep all options on the table as we hold Cricket Scotland to account on all of the recommendations contained within this report.  

“Today should also act as a wake-up call for all of Scottish sport. Racism is a societal problem and it is no longer good enough to simply be non-racist, Scottish sport must now be actively anti-racist.”

Publication of Changing The Boundaries follows an in-depth consultation exercise involving hundreds of people from across all levels of Scottish cricket including grassroots players, staff, national squad players, board members, coaches, regional association management committee members and match officials and club members.

Changing The Boundaries: Independent review into racism in Scottish cricket

Date published: 18 July 2022
Date updated: 28 July 2022

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