Cricket Scotland appoints new chair to 'rebuild' disgraced organisation

Ajnan Luthra, the new chair of Cricket Scotland
Ajnan Luthra, the new chair of Cricket Scotland

New Cricket Scotland chair Ajnan Luthra has vowed to “work tirelessly” to overhaul the organisation following a damning report on institutional racism.

The board of the governing body resigned in July ahead of a bombshell report published by Plan4Sport.

It found a lack of diversity at all levels of the organisation, inadequate systems to report racism and a lack of transparency in its reporting process. In total, Cricket Scotland failed on 29 out of the 31 indicators of institutional racism.

More than 60 per cent of members had experienced, seen or reported incidents of racism or discrimination, with 34 per cent having experienced racism personally.

Of those 41 per cent took no action to report their experience as they did not trust the body to deal with the issue adequately. The report also found discrimination based on gender and religion.

Former cricketers Majid Haq and Qasim Sheikh, who spoke out about the discrimination, went with interim CEO Gordon Arthur to the offices of Aamer Anwar on Friday ahead of the appointment of the new chairman.

Gordon Arthur (right), Chief Executive Officer of Cricket Scotland, and Aamer Anwar (centre) with former cricketers Majid Haq (left) and Qasim Sheikh (second left) (Andrew Milligan/PA Wire)

Anwar said after the meeting: "We welcomed today’s meeting with Cricket Scotland’s CEO Gordon Arthur- Myself, Majid Haq and Qasim Sheikh met on the day that the new Chair Anjan Luthra was appointed.

"Gordon stated he is deeply committed to eradicating racism from the sport.

"Anjan was also in touch today and publicly stated that everything that Majid, Qasim and others have been through was completely unacceptable-It should never have happened.

"That was a welcome opening statement, we appreciate the difficult challenges he faces in trying make the racist dinosaurs extinct.

"We were advised today that a panel for conduct in sport for Cricket Scotland is being set up that will operate nationally. If done right it will be an important step in assuring consistency in discipline, equality and eradicating the old boy’s network.

"It is clear that Cricket Scotland remains hugely under-resourced and it is for Sport Scotland to wake up to this, the massive hole in cricket funding needs resolved, if the promises made to the victims of racism are not betrayed.

"Today we expressed significant concerns on the robustness of investigation being carried out, they must have access to all the evidence from Plan 4Sport. Importantly Gordon advised today that Plan4Sport is still taking complaints and the door remains open.”

Mr Luthra has been appointed on a two-year basis with the aim of rebuilding Cricket Scotland following the scandal.

He represented Scotland at junior international level and is CEO of media company RAMP. He has previous experience in venture capital and is a chartered accountant.

Mr Luthra said on social media: “I’m absolutely delighted to be the next chair of Cricket Scotland, it’s a huge honour to take up this position.

“I’m going to work tirelessly to rebuild the organisation, there are lots of problems that we need to face up to head-on and I’m absolutely ready to work tirelessly to solve the problems and work with all the stakeholders involved.”

Arthur, Interim CEO of Cricket Scotland, commented: “I congratulate Anjan for being appointed the new Chair of Cricket Scotland. Anjan’s appointment is a major step in moving Scottish cricket forward. He is accomplished, dynamic and entrepreneurial with ambitious plans to develop the game of cricket.

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“He has vast experience in the business world and brings the perfect combination of skills, passion, experience and ambition. The Chair will lead the governance review that is one of the major recommendations emanating from ‘Changing the Boundaries’ and provides an important bridge to the International Cricket Council, sportscotland and our other stakeholders.”

Since the publication of the report into institutional racism, Cricket Scotland has “made progress” but it failed to meet some key targets.

It was recommended that a new diverse board required to consist of a minimum of 40 per cent men and 40 per cent women, and ensuring that a minimum of 25 per cent of the total board makeup came from of Black, South-East Asian, or other mixed or multiple ethnic groups be appointed by September 30 but this is now not expected to happen until late October.

An independent review of disciplinary processes at the Western District Cricket Union was also recommended and has not been delivered, but it’s expected to arrive by October 30.

Cricket Scotland has been placed in special measures by sportscotland until 2023.

Chief Operating Officer of sportscotland, Forbes Dunlop, said: "In the eight weeks since publication of the Changing The Boundaries report, Cricket Scotland has made progress in several areas. However, it is important that further progress is achieved over the coming months to deliver the cultural change that we all want to see in Scottish cricket.

“It is unacceptable that anyone has experienced racist abuse and discrimination while playing cricket, and where that has been the case, steps must be taken to address the past.”