Scottish Daily Mail



YESTERDAY’S verdict of racism was the most devastatin­g to be delivered on any sporting institutio­n in the United Kingdom. Cricket Scotland, founded over 225 years ago, was judged to be institutio­nally racist, not fit for purpose, and is now subject to special measures. It failed 29 out of 31 indicators on institutio­nal racism – any other public body would have been shut down.

For Majid Haq, Scotland’s alltime wicket-taker and Qasim Sheikh, who also played for Scotland, they were finally vindicated after years of abuse and humiliatio­n.

The cricketing body that receives several hundred thousand pounds of public money a year courtesy of the Scottish Government, and via sportscotl­and, was found to be a law unto itself.

Majid and Qasim’s sporting achievemen­ts, rather than being celebrated, were considered worthless.

They played cricket in a system that tolerated racism and the fear of exclusion underpinne­d an entire system of inequality. They were shamed, humiliated and endured racist abuse throughout their profession­al cricketing life.

It affected their health, ended their careers and at times almost led to them taking their own lives.

But no one in Cricket Scotland gave a damn.

What is clear is that without Majid and Qasim, yesterday’s exposure of institutio­nal racism would never have happened.

Yet despite that, it took until last night for interim CEO for Cricket Scotland Gordon Arthur to offer a direct apology to these two men.

Scottish cricket owes a debt of gratitude to Majid and Qasim for never giving up. They were a catalyst for change. Sadly it is far too late for their careers, but they did this for future generation­s.

AS for Cricket Scotland, its apology is too little, too late. Too many careers were destroyed, too many dreams were shattered. Children of colour are often told by their parents they must work ten times harder to succeed.

But the real tragedy is that even when those children excel and thrive, they are forced to ignore racial slurs.

If they dare complain they are excluded – and even when they do not complain they are excluded.

‘It’s tough being a minority’ was Majid’s crime when he tweeted this at the World Cup in 2015.

It was true then and remains so in 2022.

Majid Haq was punished, bullied, faced a backlash and was legally gagged until March 2022. He was subjected to standards that white cricketers were never expected to meet, his religious needs were mocked, he was subjected to direct racist abuse, ridiculed and humiliated on many occasions in front of the whole team.

Qasim also spoke out about being excluded from the national team despite having excelled with a series of high scores and centuries. He was publicly humiliated.

Both Majid and Qasim paid the price and never played again for Scotland’s national team.

The message was clear: speak out and we will destroy your career. Not one person at Cricket Scotland has ever spoken up for Majid or Qasim. There was no offer of support for their mental health or wellbeing.

The board’s resignatio­ns are welcome, but because of that there is nobody to answer for failures of leadership, institutio­nal racism and the abuse of integrity, fairness and equality. Qasim Sheikh told me that the corrosive impact of racism in cricket stripped away at his self-worth.

It should never be normal for a young person to be made to feel worthless, to be dehumanise­d in a sport they love, to be brainwashe­d into thinking it’s their fault. But that sadly is the story of hundreds of young people of colour who played cricket in Scotland.

We have requested a meeting with the Scottish Government to see what steps they will take to ensure change is delivered.

INOTE a minister of sport has tweeted, but they need to do a hell of a lot more than that – had it been football they would be busy calling emergency conference­s, calling for new laws, yet for some reason cricket appears untouchabl­e.

Let today be a watershed for sport and society, but also a warning to all sporting institutio­ns throughout the UK: get your house in order, we are tired of seeing racists taking away our young people’s dreams.

If you don’t want politics mixing with sport, then start really kicking racism out of sport.

 ?? ?? Despair: Majid Haq suffered suicidal thoughts
Despair: Majid Haq suffered suicidal thoughts

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