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Culture of discrimination and bullying exposed at Cricket Scotland

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Cricket Scotland is under fresh pressure after a damning new report highlighted serious concerns around the organisation’s culture and attitude towards women.

An assessment by McKinney HR found there was a toxic environment at the organisation and a “high degree of prejudice towards female staff and players”.

It also said sexism is “very much in evidence” within the sport in Scotland, stating that “antiquated attitudes and behaviour towards women in the game are still prevalent, particularly at club level”.

The probe into the behaviour of senior male staff and their conduct towards women was being conducted at the same time that Cricket Scotland was being investigated over allegations of widespread racism.

It concluded there was:

  • A long heritage of cricket being a man’s game and antiquated attitudes and behaviours towards women in the game are still prevalent, particularly at club level
  • Evidence that suggests that over the years women have been treated differently from their male counterparts and that specific needs of women are often dismissed or not considered
  • A period prior to the Changing the Boundaries report was issued where individuals in senior leadership positions were outwardly discriminatory towards women and displayed bullying characteristics. During this period, the evidence suggests that staff and players lost faith in CS’s senior leadership, including the board.

Trudy Lindblade, the new boss of the organisation, has apologised and vowed to make major changes.

She told STV News the report is a “damning indictment on how Cricket Scotland was able to accept those behaviours and let them go on for a period of time”.

Lindblade said: “It was a really difficult read because there are things in there that should never happen to anybody in their employment, and for it to happen at Cricket Scotland – a sport that we love – for it to come through and see it there in black and white, it was a very difficult read at the time.

“There’s a lot that we can do to change. It’s going to take time though and that’s really important to know, that we can’t change attitudes overnight. We’ve got a new strategy that we’ll be releasing over the coming weeks and that strategy will have a key focus on the women and girls game.

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“But we can’t do that by ourselves. We need to make sure we bring everybody impacted on that journey with us, so we’ll be talking to the women’s squad, we’ll be talking to the broader game and we’ll be making sure there is an action plan that sits alongside that strategy to hold us accountable for what we’re going to deliver, to make sure we can improve the game for the women in our sport.

“Behaviours like that are not acceptable in any organisation and I apologise to anybody that’s been impacted by what occurred prior to 2022 at Cricket Scotland.

“But change has occurred. Those senior leaders and those people are no longer with the organisation, so we are now on a journey to make sure we get to a point where we can have trust and transparency, and people working within our organisation who are as passionate as I am about the game.”

After being found to be institutionally racist just two years ago, Monday’s report shows that repairing trust in Cricket Scotland is an ongoing process.

In July 2022, the entire Cricket Scotland board resigned on the eve of the publication of a damning independent report that outlined hundreds of instances of institutional racism within the organisation.

An independent review by Plan4Sport – entitled “Changing The Boundaries” –  concluded that the governance and leadership practices of Cricket Scotland were institutionally racist, and followed a consultation process which found 448 separate examples of racism and discrimination within Scottish cricket.

“We do have a lot going on at Cricket Scotland,” said Lindblade. “We have the Changing the Boundaries report and we also had this coming into play but what I did find is a group of people and a staff team that are very passionate about what they do and really want to see the success of this sport.

“There’s a lot to be done. It’s certainly not the way I thought I would start my job at Cricket Scotland, in terms of any CEO coming into a new role, wants to come in and look at that strategy and be able to just drive that from the beginning, but I haven’t had the opportunity to do that yet and I’m very much looking forward to it.”

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