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John Blain hits out at BBC over Qasim Sheikh role and demands Cricket Scotland inquiry



Former cricket player John Blain has hit out at the BBC’s alleged double standards in continuing to employ Qasim Sheikh and called on the ECB to reconsider their “unsafe” verdict in their case against him after Cricket Scotland cleared him of racism allegations.

Blain, who represented Scotland as a fast bowler between 1999 and 2009, has revealed he was informed by Cricket Scotland (CS) in January that he had no case to answer following an investigation into allegations of racism against him by two former players, Sheikh and Majid Haq.

Blain had been accused of using a racist slur “p—” on a Scotland tour of Kenya in 2007, and was subsequently suspended from the CS Hall of Fame.

He was initially asked to keep the news that the allegations had proven “unfounded” confidential. But five months of “delays and prevarication” later, Cricket Scotland have not made the findings of the year-long investigation public, carried out jointly by two law firms and Sporting Equals, the race inclusion charity, so Blair has called for a “full and transparent inquiry” into Cricket Scotland and Sportscotland.

“To describe the way Sportsscotland and Cricket Scotland initially handled that report as a ‘kangaroo court’ is an insult to marsupials everywhere,” wrote Blair in a statement.

“It’s obvious to me that, rather than publish this very clear and detailed judgement which fully exonerates me, Cricket Scotland is once again running scared of the small “anti-racist” cabal which has exerted such a malign influence over our sport.

“My life has been on hold for too long and it’s time that the truth is finally told about one of the biggest sporting scandals of recent times.”

Blain said he had been “the victim of a cynical and highly effective smear campaign” and had lost various jobs. “My house requires regular police surveillance, my children have also been targeted and the health of close family members has suffered due to the prolonged period of intense stress,” he added.

BBC accused of ‘monumental double standards’

Blain questioned whether the BBC would continue to employ Sheikh, who as recently as Sunday has been working for Test Match Special as a commentator on Scotland matches at the T20 World Cup. 

The BBC has already been accused of a “monumental double standard” for employing Sheikh in an open letter signed by more than 100 Jewish figures in the media and entertainment industry after he shared an image on social media earlier this year which depicted prime minister Rishi Sunak and other world leaders with Hitler moustaches, and was captioned: “Kids Killer Union.”

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