Cricket scorer who racially abused umpire Majid Haq fined £400

A man who made a racist remark about former Scotland cricket international Majid Haq at a match has been fined £400.

Club official Ronald McGregor called umpire Mr Haq a “cheating Paki” during a game at Greenock Cricket Club on August 12 this year.

McGregor, 64, previously admitted acting in a racially aggravated manner which caused or was intended to cause alarm or distress to Mr Haq by uttering a racist remark that day.

Sheriff Neil Kinnear ordered him to pay a £400 fine plus a £20 victim surcharge when he returned to Greenock Sheriff Court for sentencing on Wednesday.

It comes after Cricket Scotland earlier this month handed McGregor a lifetime ban on attending cricket matches in the country.

Sentencing McGregor, Sheriff Kinnear said: “I note and accept that you have been a life-long cricket fan and that as a result of this incident that has come to an end and you have lost the ability to attend cricket matches, which was your passion for many years.

“At this cricket match you made a racial slur in relation to the umpire of a type which is completely unacceptable.

“You are no doubt aware of the public outrage that such comments cause.

“Racist comments are not acceptable to society these days, and probably never have been.

“They are never acceptable in society so I have to mark this with a significant financial penalty.”

The sheriff said he recognises it was a one-off incident and that McGregor, from Greenock, has offered to apologise to the umpire.

He said he would have imposed a £600 fine but reduced it to £400 in recognition of McGregor’s early guilty plea.

Greenock Sheriff Court
Ronald McGregor was sentenced at Greenock Sheriff Court (PA)

But he said the sum would be a “significant” financial penalty for McGregor.

McGregor, 64, a well-known former player in Scottish club cricket, was acting as scorer on the day of the incident, which happened during a WDCU Premiership One match between home club Greenock and Stenhousemuir.

Aidan Gallagher, representing McGregor, told the court the incident was “out of character” for his client, who offered a “sincere apology” for what he said.

He said: “He regrets it wholeheartedly. He fully accepts it was inexcusable and it has had very significant consequences for him.

“He had been involved with Cricket Scotland for many years and that’s now at an end, he will have no further involvement in cricket.”

Previous allegations from Mr Haq and another former international, Qasim Sheikh, led to an independent review which last year concluded the governance and leadership practices of Cricket Scotland were institutionally racist.

Work has since been undertaken to address the findings and actions which were recommended by the Changing The Boundaries report.