Aamer Anwar, the lawyer representing two players Majid Haq and Qasim Sheikh, at the centre of a racism controversy at Cricket Scotland has said that the board’s resignation is “not enough”. “They couldn’t see racism if it hit them in the face,” the lawyer said about Cricket Scotland. He blasted the cricket board for failing to publicly apologise to the two players, who he said should be recruited to the board for being “a catalyst for change”.
The entire board quit with immediate effect on July 24 ahead of the publication of a sportscotland-commissioned independent review into institutional racism.
The review was conducted after Scotland’s all-time wicket-taker Majid Haq and team-mate Qasim Sheikh reported allegations of racism in November last year.
NEWS UPDATE | The Board of Cricket Scotland has resigned. We will work in partnership with @sportscotland with immediate effect to ensure appropriate governance, leadership & support is in place for sport in the days ahead.
— Cricket Scotland (@CricketScotland) July 24, 2022
Haq, born in Scotland and of Pakistani descent, had revealed last year that he had suffered abuse in his career. He represented Scotland more than 200 times but did not play again after being sent home from the 2015 World Cup. “As an ethnic minority cricketer, you need to perform twice as well as a white counterpart to get the same opportunities,” he had said in November. “A lot of people have asked me if I think Cricket Scotland are institutionally racist – I think they are. An investigation would show that they are,” Haq told reporters then.
Sheikh, born in Glasgow, alleged he was vilified after he spoke out against the then coach Peter Streindle for dropping him after successive hundreds against Ireland and Kent in the Intercontinental Cup. He played seven ODIs, the last of which was in 2010.
“Who controls cricket in Scotland? What you’re talking about is selectors, what you’re talking about is some of the umpires, what you’re talking about is the boards of local leagues,” said Mr Anwar. “That’s how Cricket Scotland operates,” the lawyer told Sky Sports.
“I for one cannot see how those who are accused of racism, how those who are found guilty of racism, of institutional racism can be expected or trusted to carry out change. They couldn’t see racism if it hit them in the face. Two hundred and twenty five years of history and they have to be dragged kicking and screaming. How can you have an organisation that talks about governance, how can you have an organisation that talks about diversity and bringing about change, when they have never delivered anything in any concept robustly fighting discrimination or fighting racism,” the lawyer Anwar said.
During the review, racial allegations were passed to a number of organisations including Police Scotland. Ahead of the report by equality and diversity specialists Plan4Sport, Cricket Scotland announced that the board had resigned, and a complete review will look to change the “governance, leadership and support” structures that have failed several players within the game.