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John Blain: Ex-Scotland player wants inquiry into Cricket Scotland & sportscotland after being ‘cleared’ of racism allegations

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Cricket Scotland said an independent investigation decided allegations “have not been founded”; Blain now wants the ECB to reconsider a separate case which saw him fined for using racist language; ECB say the decision was made after “considering all the evidence”

By PA Sport


Former Scotland international John Blain has called for an inquiry into Cricket Scotland and sportscotland after being “cleared” of racism allegations.

Blain shared communication from Cricket Scotland chief executive Pete Fitzboydon that he received in January, which states that an independent investigation decided that “allegations have not been founded, and there is not any case to answer, and so this matter is now considered closed”.

The case arose following allegations by his former Scotland team-mates, Majid Haq and Qasim Sheikh, which emerged in the process of an independent review – with the ‘Changing the Boundaries’ report detailing 448 examples of institutional racism within the Scottish game.

Blain was asked to keep the outcome confidential while Cricket Scotland communicated with complainers but has now gone public after what his legal team described as “five months of delay and prevarication”.

The former Yorkshire bowler, who won 118 Scotland caps and was removed from Cricket Scotland’s Hall of Fame, said in a statement: “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.

“Now that the investigation has cleared me, I am finally able to respond to those who falsely accused me. I simply could not believe that, after giving both Majid and Qasim considerable support during their careers, they made such false and disgraceful accusations against me.

“Crucially, the in-depth Scottish investigation did not accept Majid’s allegation that I had used the P-word during a tour to Kenya in 2007.”



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Blain made 118 appearances for Scotland

A spokesperson for sportscotland said: “The Changing the Boundaries report was published following an in-depth review. The subsequent Referrals Process was run by an independent investigative team, comprising leading sports law firm Harper MacLeod LLP, Bishop Lloyd and Jackson Solicitors, and Sporting Equals.

“The process has involved examining the various allegations made, through investigation meetings with complainants, witnesses and those complained against. To date we have not commented on any individual’s cases and it would be inappropriate for us to do so.”



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Cricket Scotland say they ‘engaged extensively with all parties’

Cricket Scotland said it had “engaged extensively with all parties throughout a complex, challenging and emotive independent investigative process”.

It added: “We will continue to respect that independent process, with the welfare of all involved as a priority, in order that we can reach a conclusion that enables our sport to move forward with unity.”

Haq and Sheikh’s solicitor, Aamer Anwar, said on behalf of the pair: “Both Majid and Qasim remain victims of racism who continue to be abused, vilified and excluded for daring to speak out. Sadly I suspect that will now increase.

“It was galling for my clients to see the huge camaraderie and support Mr Blain received in comparison to the abject silence from Scottish cricket, when Majid and Qasim placed their heads above the parapet.



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Qasim Sheikh (right) and Majid Haq (left) with solicitor Aamer Anwar (centre)

“My clients were subjected to all the various versions of racism that can be practised but are yet to see any real action in response.

“Cricket Scotland hoped this matter would simply go away. It will not, as they will see in the coming days.

“The one thing we can all agree with is the need for the facts to be made public now.

“My clients have engaged in good faith in a process that has taken too long and resulted in yet another case study for why Scottish cricket needs to accept institutional racism and put in place urgent changes to stop this happening again.

“The culture of denial remains rife and the dinosaurs are very much alive and well.”

Blain is now calling for the England and Wales Cricket Board to reconsider a separate case which saw him fined for using racist language after claiming “Majid’s false allegation was used as corroboration of Azeem Rafiq’s equally untrue allegation and was central to the ECB verdict against me, which must now be deemed unsafe”.



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Blain was one of six former Yorkshire players and coaches who were handed fines and suspensions by The Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) for ‘alleged use of racist and/or discriminatory language’

He added: “The fact that the year-long Scottish investigation has completely exonerated me fatally undermines the ECB process and must force them to reconsider their unjust verdict and clear my name.”

The 45-year-old, who says the process cost him several jobs, including his role as BBC pundit, added: “It’s taken over three years to clear my name and I remain very angry and disappointed at the way Cricket Scotland, sportscotland and the ECB have so badly mishandled these allegations and the wider process.”

He added: “I have been the victim of a cynical and highly effective smear campaign, including successfully putting pressure on several of my employers to sack me. I have suffered serious online defamation and multiple social media attacks.

“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.”

An ECB spokesperson said: “The Cricket Discipline Commission upheld the charge against John Blain for using racist language at Yorkshire in or around 2010 and 2011 after considering all the evidence before it, including Mr Blain’s defence and a number of supporting witness statements filed by him (through his then legal team) before he withdrew from the process. He declined the opportunity to appear before the Commission.”

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