Scottish cricket has been rocked by a racism scandal at one of the country’s leading clubs.
The Daily Record can reveal that three members of Prestwick Cricket Club have received bans after using shocking racist terms.
The men include the club’s scorer Graeme Hay, 37, who called club President Shahzad Rafiq, 36, a “P*** b******” in front of witnesses at the club AGM.
Two other club members also used similar racist language within club premises.
All three men were hit with eight month bans, with the option of taking an online inclusivity course to reduce the term to four months.
Whistleblowers have told the Record that the club took action after complaints by members who said they’d “had enough” of the ongoing racism within the sport.
Our revelations come amid a racism storm that has forced a nationwide probe by bosses at Cricket Scotland, sparked by the experience of Scottish international Majid Haq – the star player of last season.
They also follow a racism scandal that sparked global headlines at Yorkshire County Cricket Club in England.
The whistleblower has told the Record that racist language within Scottish cricket is a “massive problem”.
On the Prestwick suspensions he said: “There are a few people at the club, long term members, that you might describe as dinosaurs, who believe that using racist terms like ‘P***”’ or black ‘b******’ are somehow acceptable.
“Racism has been a stain on this club for a long time and the further discussions that have been stirred about racism in English and now Scottish cricket has meant their number had to be up sometime.”
Prestwick is one of Scotland’s top clubs and won the prestigious CSL winners final in 2017 – the highest honour in Scotland.
Another source told the Record there had been open and direct racism shown towards club president Shahzad Rafiq by club scorer Hay.
He said: “Graeme Hay has been the scorer for several years and he’s been known to use this kind of language. Somehow he’s been tolerated.
“At the AGM in November he…came straight out and called him a “P*** b******’.
“When the disciplinary was held a couple of weeks ago he admitted it and he was given an eight-month ban but he’s doing a course to halve that.”
The source added: “There has been a bit of animosity between him and Rafiq, but they’ve known each other for years and Shaz has brushed the racism off, treating it as ignorant abuse, so he’s not been seeking a life ban for anyone.
“He just wants people to learn their lesson and the club move forward.”
Rafiq is a former club captain but has not played in the last few years.
He is a good friend of Majid Haq, whose allegations of racism are being reviewed by a board set up by Cricket Scotland this month.
After the Record contacted Prestwick president Rafiq he said he did not wish to comment personally but passed on a statement prepared by the club’s committee.
It states: “A complaint was submitted to the club’s committee regarding the use of racist language.
“Following a full investigation and disciplinary process with the individuals concerned, and taking account of the context, and remorse shown, the individuals were issued with an eight month ban.
“To encourage a behavioural change it was also recommended the individuals complete an equality and diversity course, which in turn would reduce the ban to four months. The parties concerned are also aware any further incidents will result in lifetime bans.
“The individuals have been offered an avenue back to the club and we wholeheartedly hope that they take the opportunity to be part of what is an all inclusive community club with a diverse membership.
“The club considers the matter has been dealt with fairly … and will be making no further comment.
Hay admitted he had been banned when approached by the Record.
He said: “I have recognised that my actions are inappropriate and do not represent how I feel. I am fully against any sort of racism or any form of discrimination.
“There is no excuse for what I said and take full responsibility.
“I am currently completing an equality and diversity training scheme.
“Once complete and when I return to the club I will look to add value to the club. I have great relationships with all members at the club and I am truly sorry for letting them down in my drunken state. I will take this as a lesson to better myself.”
Cricket Scotland has re-affirmed a “zero tolerance” approach to racism.
They said: “Cricket Scotland believes that all sport should offer a safe and welcoming environment for anyone wishing to take part and has a zero tolerance policy on any form of discrimination or abuse.
Those affected by discrimination and who wish to be heard can contact the independent review into Scottish cricket via the confidential email which has been set up email@example.com.”
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