Changing The Boundaries – the Plan4Sport Independent Review into Racism in Scottish Cricket, which was published earlier this week, makes for shocking reading. It is an appalling indictment of an organisation that has received over £500,000 from the Scottish Government via Sport Scotland since 2019.

As the review states in its introduction: ‘In 1999, the Met Police was branded institutionally racist by Sir William MacPherson in his report of the public inquiry into the death of Stephen Lawrence. He defined institutional racism as: “the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin”. This form of racism is seen in: “processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping which disadvantages minority ethnic people.”

As a result of their extensive research and enquiries, Plan4Sport found no fewer than 448 separate examples of institutional racism in Cricket Scotland – examples facilitated by a complete absence of equality, diversity and inclusion policies and procedures. Resignation of the entire board was inevitable and the right thing to do. The review also makes very uncomfortable reading for Sport Scotland as it begs the question why none of these things –standard Human Resource practice for public bodies and institutions – were required to be in place before funding was allocated.

The review heard from players, staff, coaches and others who had experienced or witnessed racist abuse, ranging from racist language – often, but not always, passed off as banter – to being overlooked for selection or promotion. Cricket Scotland are responsible not just for players, but for coaches, umpires, volunteers. Its leadership seems to have failed to ensure at any level and for any group within the sport, that equalities and antiracism policies were in place, known about, and accessible when needed.

It is an astonishing review and one which is as upsetting as it is intolerable. Fortunately, the review also contains a very clear list of actions to be taken as a matter of urgency to begin to make amends and to put Cricket Scotland on the right path so that cricket can flourish. I urge Sport Scotland and all relevant authorities to implement the recommendations of the review urgently.

But the truth is that I am painfully aware that racism is not unique to Cricket Scotland as an institution or a sport. This issue goes wide and deep in Scottish sport, despite many good local initiatives and practices that are successful and to be applauded.

That is why I intend to lodge a parliamentary motion on the subject of racism in sport. I hope this motion will attract cross party support and if it does so, it may be able to be considered for debate in parliament in due course.

Scotland can and must do much better on this issue. There is so much goodwill for us to do better. The recommendations in this review need urgent implementation. We need apologies from all relevant parties to those who they know have been wronged.

A zero tolerance approach to racism in all sporting endeavour is not just a laudable objective. It must become a reality in the interests of equality, diversity, inclusion and for the good of sport.

#showracismtheredcard #equality #diversity #inclusion #sportscotland #cricketscotland