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Former Cricket Scotland chair: sportscotland must now disown irredeemably flawed “institutional racism” report



The former chair of Cricket Scotland, Tony Brian, has called upon sportscotland to admit its report which branded Cricket Scotland “institutionally racist” was irredeemably flawed and can no longer be relied upon.

The demand follows the public statement earlier this week by former Scottish cricket internationalist John Blain. His statement, when taken with various announcements last year from Cricket Scotland, has revealed that at least 200 of the 202 so-called actual “examples of racism” quoted in the report (in fact simply unproven and untested allegations) had been dismissed .

Those 202 cases comprised almost half of the highly-publicised “448 examples of racism” (despite no investigation or proper proof) cited in the report commissioned by sportscotland. The other 246 examples were described as instances of racism contained in policies and procedures but those have never been published and sportscotland have steadfastedly refused to reveal any details of them , despite a string of Freedom of Information requests.

Mr. Brian said: “It now seems increasingly clear that Scotland’s national sporting agency has presided over a major and growing scandal. Its continuing refusal to admit the irredeemable flaws in its report is a shameful attempt to cover up the truth. The reputation of cricket in Scotland has been outrageously and unfairly dragged through the gutter and it’s now time for the cover-up to end.

Since early 2023, Mr. Brian has expressed “grave misgivings” about the actions of

sportscotland, the Scottish Government-funded national sports agency, which has overseen a period of unprecedented turmoil in Scottish cricket after its“ institutional racism” report received enormous publicity in July 2022.

He said: “Since very early on, I and others have been pointing out to sportscotland that the report by so-called “Global Diversity, Equality and Inclusion experts” (per a sportscotland press release), Plan4Sport (in reality a three-person business operating out of a residential property in the West Midlands) was fatally and irredeemably flawed, riven with conflicts and partiality. It has now been utterly discredited.

“Over a year ago we shared with sportscotland’s then chair and chief executive a detailed and forensic analysis of the many glaring and fundamental holes in the report [see Appendix for document shared with sportscotland on 9 March 2023] but they have refused even to discuss the report or the analysis. This smacks of cover-up as sportscotland belatedly sees the enormous hole it has dug for itself.

“Astonishingly, not only has the evidence allegedly underpinning the report never been published, but sportscotland – which commissioned the report and then acted upon it – has been forced to admit it hadn’t actually seen any details of the 448 so-called examples of racism at the time of publication.

“Furthermore, its CEO confirmed in November 2023 they had still hadn’t seen any of the 246 supposed policy failings the report claimed to have found. This is on top of the revelation earlier this week which effectively showed that almost all (if not all) of the other 202 assertions of actual supposed racism and inequality have been assessed as unfounded by independent lawyers or were seemingly not considered worthy of any investigation.

“The ongoing cover-up, the total collapse of the central allegations and the astounding attempt to avoid publishing any of the claims in the report they relied upon is an outrageous state of affairs. It is all the more scandalous when you consider that sportscotland hosted a press conference, televised live at the time, presenting the allegations as fact when they had not been subject to any recognised form of scrutiny.

“Now that the so-called ‘evidence’ has either been revealed – as was always suspected – to be, at least almost entirely false or unproven or is being kept hidden from public scrutiny, sportscotland cannot stand by the report any longer.”

Given Scottish cricket’s long-standing track record of racial integration and diversity, Mr. Brian was sanguine when, in late 2021, what many felt were unlikely accusations of racism by former Scotland cricketers Majid Haq and Qasim Sheikh led to sportscotland commissioning Plan4Sport, a tiny consultancy which they had been using for many years for training and policy advice, to carry out a detailed review into so-called racism in Scottish cricket.

Mr. Brian said: “Unfortunately, as we later learned, that long-standing relationship between sportscotland and Plan4Sport fatally undermined the ‘independence’ of the process from the outset. Compounding the review’s failings were Plan4Sport’s lack of experience and the skills required for an investigation of this kind, something which only became clear later.

“Amazingly, sportscotland had commissioned its review without first attempting to investigate or verify the allegations made by Messrs. Haq and Sheikh. Amazement turned to disbelief when the subsequent “Changing the Boundaries” report was published in July 2022 and claimed to have identified 448 examples of institutional racism. These supposedly consisted of 202 allegations of direct racism, discrimination and inequality and 246 allegations of policy and procedural failings. Of the former, more than 60, it was decided, required formal investigation; it has to be presumed the other 140 were not worthy of any investigation and thus were not material or in any way proven.

“Scandalously, a subsequent, year-long investigation into those 60+ allegations by a sportscotland-appointed investigative team of lawyers and discrimination and race inclusion specialists has not, as far as we know, found a single one of those requiring any form of disciplinary action or even justifying a charge against anyone.

“That investigation concluded in October/November last year but the outcomes of the last 20 or so cases have still not been officially announced by sportscotland or Cricket Scotland more than six months later! It has needed John Blain to go public, because Cricket Scotland has refused to tell the world the allegations made against him were unfounded, for the truth to come out.

“At least a proper investigation has taken place into those 60+ allegations of racism and inequality and it has demonstrated, beyond any doubt, that half of the ‘evidence’ in this irredeemably flawed report – which has unfairly trashed the reputations of Scottish cricket and a number of fine individuals – is clearly without foundation.

“The other half – the alleged policy and procedural failings – remains shrouded in secrecy because sportscotland still refuses to publish it, even anonymised if necessary, which tells its own tale. After all, it’s difficult to believe that sportscotland would be refusing to publish these allegations if they supported their original, outrageous slur of ‘institutionalised racism’.

“The report has now been totally and completely undermined, and quite obviously cannot be justified, supported or relied upon. sportscotland must immediately admit this publicly and start repairing the damage it has done to cricket in Scotland in this scandalous and shameful episode.

“Crucially, a terrible personal price has also been paid by individuals such as John Blain, who has been an outstanding servant to our sport for many years. The outrageous allegations of racism against him have been shown to be completely false, as those who have had the privilege of knowing him over the years were confident would happen. sportscotland and Cricket Scotland should immediately take accountability and publicly apologise to John and his family and restore him without delay to the Cricket Scotland Hall of Fame.

“In addition to acknowledging the fatal flaws in the report and in its own conduct, sportscotland and Cricket Scotland also need to take action against anyone who has been found in the lawyers’

investigation to have deliberately made false accusations. To make false accusations of racism knowing them to be untrue is despicable, and any individuals who have done that must now be held accountable.

“None of this is to say that cricket in Scotland has been completely free of racism. Sadly, as in all of Scottish society, there have been isolated racist incidents in cricket, but those have rightly been dealt with promptly and appropriately.

“The many thousands of people who play, watch and love cricket in Scotland have been badly, badly let down by sportscotland’s weakness, its lack of rigour and its eagerness to embrace a false and damaging narrative. The negative impact on the lives of many good people in our game due to sportscotland’s institutional failings has been enormous.

“It now seems very clear that the sport was sacrificed on the altars of personal and political agendas and based upon the very flimsiest of evidence. sportscotland now has an urgent and overwhelming responsibility to start the process of rehabilitation by admitting they got this whole process horrendously wrong.”

The former chair of Cricket Scotland, Tony Brian


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