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Former Scotland international Majid Haq has described his “shock” at the “paltry” fine handed to the cricket club official who racially abused him.
Ronald McGregor has been fined £400 and ordered to pay a £20 victim surcharge at Greenock Sheriff Court after admitting acting in a racially aggravated manner which caused or was intended to cause alarm or distress.
Umpire Haq was called a “cheating Paki” by the 64-year-old scorer during a WDCU Premiership One match between home club Greenock and Stenhousemuir on August 12 this year.
Sheriff Neil Kinnear said he would have imposed a £600 fine but reduced the penalty in recognition of McGregor’s early guilty plea and claimed it would still be a “significant” financial penalty. The sheriff added that he recognised it was a one-off incident and that McGregor, from Greenock, had offered to apologise to Haq.
Writing on his X social media account, Haq said: “Today has been a eye opener for many people. Still in shock Sheriff Neil Kinnear gave racist Ronald McGregor a paltry £420 fine. Shows we have a long way to go in the courts & maybe Sheriffs @Lawscot could do with some diversity training themselves. #joke.”
Haq’s lawyer, Aamer Anwar, said McGregor’s claim through his lawyer that he wished to apologise was “too little, too late, too convenient”.
Anwar pointed out that McGregor had failed to attend his Cricket Scotland disciplinary hearing and was described after that process as showing “no remorse”. He was banned from attending any cricket matches in Scotland last month.
Sentencing McGregor, a well-known former player, Sheriff Kinnear said: “I note and accept that you have been a lifelong 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.”
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.
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