Time to get rid of Interim Committees
as Sri Lankans, have enjoyed our democratic rights for over seven
decades. As a nation, we have always valued democracy and most of our
leaders, except for a couple in the past, have done their utmost best to
protect and preserve democracy for the next generation.
As it is defined simply, democracy is for the people, from the people
and by the people. It always honour and respect the wish of the
That is precisely why we spent millions of rupees to conduct
elections at various levels, be it presidential election, general
elections, provincial council elections or local government elections.
That enables masses to exercise their democratic rights and elect people
of their choice to be their representatives at the Parliament,
Provincial Councils, Municipal Councils, Town Councils or Pradheshiya
But do we experience the same five-star democracy when it comes to
sports arena? If so, there can’t be so many interim councils which have
almost become permanent in some sports.
According to the National Sports Law, Executive Committees of each
National Sports Association (NSA) should be elected at an annual general
meeting (NSA) annually, on or before March 31 each year. President, the
other top office bearers of each NSA are elected by member clubs,
associations and affiliated bodies of the respective national
Minister if Sports, under the provisions vested in him by the
National Sports Law, could dissolve any elected Ex-co of NSA if he finds
any mismanagement, irregular conduct or frauds.
He could then appoint an interim administration of his choice until
the Sports Ministry conducts an investigation against the sacked
If he finds the ex-co guilty, he could instruct the Director General
of Sports to conduct fresh elections under his supervision. If the ex-co
in question is cleared of all charges, the Sports Minister has the power
to reinstate the existing Ex-co without fresh elections.
Unfortunately, some of the Interim Committees appointed by previous
Sports Ministers are still functioning, completely ignoring the
democratic rights of member clubs, associations and affiliated bodies of
The word ‘interim’ itself gives a clear indication that such
committees appointed are temporary and would only function until the
investigations on allegations made against an ex-co are over. In other
words, these Ministry-appointed interim committees are temporary,
provisional, acting or short-term.
Surprisingly, most of these interim committees appointed by
successive Sports Ministers have now become permanent, completely
ignoring the democratic rights of member clubs, associations and
affiliated bodies of a NSA. More interestingly, some interim councils
have been functioning for years and years, even a decade!
You may wonder as to why we caw so much about interim councils. That
is purely because of accountability of officials.
When there is a democratically elected set of office bearers, they
are accountable for their general membership for whatever the decisions
they make. Even if a member club or association finds an irregularity or
inappropriate decision of an ex-co, they have the right to question.
That is purely because of the fact that it’s the general membership
which appoints the executive committee members.
But this is not the case when it comes to interim administration. The
interim Committees are appointed by the Sports Minister. Hence, they are
only answerable to the Sports Minister and not to the general membership
of that particular NSA. Whatever the controversial decisions taken by
the members of an interim committee could not be questioned by member
clubs and associations.
Now that the new Minister of Sports C.B. Ratnayake has just assumed
duties, we thought of focusing his attention on the need to re-establish
democracy in the field of sports.
The Government has done its utmost best to protect democracy and
strongly believes the power of people. Minister Ratnayake is no
The Government was able to restore democratic rights of the people in
the North and East after 30 long years. For the first time in 30 years,
the Government was able to conduct a presidential election in the entire
country, including all parts of the Northern and the Eastern Provinces.
There is no better time than this to restore democracy for the member
clubs and associations whose voices have been conveniently silenced by
Hence, we earnestly hope Minister Ratnayake will make the first move
towards re-establishing democracy by replacing the current interim
councils with democratically elected executive committees. He could do
so step by step, identifying the most notorious interim administrations
first - such as the ‘educated’ man who spent nearly eight lakhs to fund
the general election campaign of a politician whom he thought would
become the Sports Minister.
As we have stated here before, Minister Ratnayake has a clean and a
proven track record as a politician. He has the ability to clean Sri
Lanka sports once and forever!
As far as rugby is concerned, it appears as if the member clubs and
associations of the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) keen to
retain the current interim council, led by Dr. Maiya Gunasekera.
Contrary to most interim chiefs, Dr. Gunasekera is eager to quit and
hand over the interim administration to a democratically elected set of
Unfortunately, there had not been a quorum to conduct an AGM on both
occasions they attempted to conduct fresh elections to the SLRFU. We
hope the SLRFU would be able to sort out this ‘quorum problem’ soon and
elect a new council. If we fail to do so, the world governing body the
IRB, may well suspend the SLRFU, depriving our ruggerites an opportunity
of competing at international matches and tournaments.
Whatever is said and done, the Sports Minister must act fearlessly
and get rid of all interim councils, however ‘good’ they may be! We have
nothing personal against any of the existing interim committees but
stated all these facts in the best interest of sport.