Meeting with ICC officials an eye wash from the real truth? | Daily News

Meeting with ICC officials an eye wash from the real truth?

A four-member delegation headed by Sports Minister Faiszer Mustapha is scheduled to leave for Dubai today to meet with the International Cricket Council (ICC) hierarchy chairman Shashank Manohar and CEO David Richardson to discuss on the current status of administration of Sri Lanka Cricket. What objective the Minister is expecting to achieve by having a meeting when the ICC has given clear guidelines and a time deadline for an independent democratically elected body of people to be brought in defies logic.

Right now what we are having is worse than an interim committee. There is direct government involvement. The ICC is dealing with a government minister and a competent authority appointed by him to oversee SLC administration.

What is surprising is that the ICC normally does not have interactions with politicians or agrees to a meeting when its Executive Committee has already given a deadline and told what has to be done.

The Minister has cited the legal cases as an impediment for him not being able to hold the elections till April 2019 whereas it should not be the case because already the Attorney-General’s department has clearly given a road map and a process to the Supreme Court and told them to appoint an independent election committee through the Ministry of Sport and have elections because any way the independent election committee will have the powers to determine who qualifies according to the ICC’s code of good governance, the Sri Lanka Sports Act and the SLC constitution. This is something that former SLC president Thilanga Sumathipala does not want.

As the Sports Minister has suggested he is going to appoint old retired Supreme Court judges in the independent election committee. The moment that happens they are never going to allow Sumathipala to contest. Everyone knows that he has affiliations to the gaming industry.

The injunction that is pending is former SLC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga questioning how a person who has admitted to having association with gaming in a Sri Lankan court of law be allowed to run for the presidency. It is a question any fair minded person would ask.

The court proceeding therefore has nothing to do with the election, the court proceeding is about the eligibility of certain people who have other affiliations to participating in the election. The simplest way of overcoming that if there are legal complications of holding an election is to appoint an interim committee with knowledgeable past cricketers for which the ICC would not object. Sumathipala does not want to that to happen.

There seems to be some pressure brought on the Sports Minister to appoint people of Sumathipala’s administration to run cricket until elections are called for which is what they are lobbying for.

In the last 20 years or so the SLC administration has been run by an interim committee for 15 years and the ICC has had no issues. It is a section of Sumathipala’s people who are misleading the public and the minister and everybody else by holding press conferences and painting a false picture that if elections are not conducted or interim committees are appointed the ICC would suspend Sri Lanka.

The ICC has no issues with interim committees and they will never say anything to them because that was shown clearly after the Nishantha Ranatunga regime was ousted and replaced by an interim administration headed by Sidath Wettimuny. Shortly before elections were to be held Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe wrote to the ICC officially in his capacity as Prime Minister requesting that he be given time to appoint an interim committee and bring in changes to the SLC constitution, the ICC in writing agreed to it and they even offered their expertise to complete the process. Where the UNP erred was that they should never have allowed the portfolio of Sports Minister to have gone to the UPFA. UNP miscalculated big time there and may have squandered a golden opportunity for them at the next elections.

So the question that needs to be asked, is the Sports Minister’s mandate to protect Sumathipala’s interest and make sure that nobody else gets in?

What is holding the Minister from going ahead and holding the elections? Is it because the independent election committee may find Sumathipala an unsuitable candidate and will not allow him to contest?

These are all delaying tactics and a big eyewash the Minister going to the ICC and explaining SLC’s situation. It is a similar situation to the delimitation process brought by Mustapha as Minister of Sports and Provincial Councils and Local Government, where you keep on delaying and mess things up. The same thing is happening here.

All you need to administer is the cricket. The problem is, there has never been a selection policy. That has been the bane of our cricket and that is why we are facing all these humiliations. For there to be independent selection there has to be the right caliber of people administering cricket.

You can see what is happening currently with the present government appointed administration. Within a few weeks we are going to a fifty-over tournament the Asia Cup in UAE and what is the SLC doing, they are conducting a T20 league cricket tournament, for what purpose? When people with no cricketing knowledge run cricket this is what happens. It’s a very sad state of affairs. But who cares.


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