SJB decries govt. bid to extend SLC bigwigs’ terms




‘A violation of unanimous parliamentary resolution’

By Saman Indrajith

The SJB yesterday said that the government had published a gazette allowing the incumbent Sri Lanka Cricket President and Secretary to remain in their positions, purportedly in exchange for providing funds for government members to contest future elections.

Addressing the media at the Opposition Leader’s Office in Colombo, Chief Opposition Whip and Kandy District SJB MP Lakshman Kiriella said that the Sports Minister Harin Fernando issued the gazette in spite of a parliamentary resolution calling for the dissolution of the Cricket Board administration.

Kiriella said that the move undermined the parliamentary resolution, unanimously supported by both the government and the Opposition. “This gazette is against a resolution passed by Parliament during the latter half of last year to overhaul the incumbent Cricket Board. That resolution, moved by Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa, was passed unanimously in Parliament with both government and the Opposition voting for it. This move is nothing but a slap on the face of that resolution,” he said.

“It is a well-known fact that the Sri Lanka Cricket administration is corrupt and many are on their payroll. Instead of sacking the Board, as per Parliament resolution, they got the then Sports Minister sacked. These corrupt elements got the incumbent Sports Minister to issue this gazette, dated May 03. Otherwise, the term of the incumbent Board was to end in March next year.”

Kiriella said that the incumbent President and Secretary of the Sri Lanka Cricket had been holding those positions for the past six years. “They had enough time to develop cricket. One could understand how they have developed cricket by simply taking a glance at the prevailing situation in the T20 World Cup. Nowhere in the world does the same administration go on for six years. In other countries the Boards change in four to five years. Now, as per the new gazette, the incumbent President and Secretary can stay for four more years and are eligible to four-year extensions of terms. Altogether, they can get eight years more. After that also they are entitled to be the executive members for another 16 years,” Kiriella queried.

He said that the incumbent SLC President and Secretary had formed cricket clubs whose votes helped ensure their election to top posts in the Cricket Board. “The report by a Committee, headed by Justice K.T. Chitrasiri, too, identified that there were only 13 to 14 actual cricket clubs while the SLC maintains a list of over 100 clubs for the purpose of ensuring votes for them.

There was an Auditor General report recommending the dissolution of these clubs and SLC. We presented them to Parliament when we passed the resolution against the SLC. There was a COPE investigation against the SLC. That, too, was swept under the carpet. We are planning to raise this issue in Parliament again next week,” the Chief Opposition Whip said.

He said that the SLC maintained provincial boards, consisting of former politicians rejected by the people at elections. “Take a look at the provincial cricket boards. All headed by former politicians who lost elections. These people are maintained by the SLC money and, in return, they work for the parties endorsed by the incumbent Board President. The gazette, too, has come as a result of a promise by these corrupt cricket officials that they would fund government MPs future election campaigns,” Kiriella said