Sri Lankan Gov. Dissolve Cricket Board Amid Corruption Claims

July 4, 2011

A decision was made at the end of last week by the Sri Lankan government to dissolve the country’s cricket board and appoint an entirely new one amid claims of corruption and mismanagement.

According to the government a new board will be elected in January after new rules set by world cricket’s governing body (ICC) ordered that national cricket boards must be elected, free of political interference, within two years.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has been run by political appointees on a temporary basis for years and is heavily criticised and in debt with the board owing more than US$15m after co-hosting this year’s World Cup with India and Bangladesh.

Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage told BBC Sinhala that the interim committee announced on Friday, July 1, would serve until January when elections would be held, stating: “As per ICC recommendation we could have run an interim committee until 2013, but we will hold elections in January 2012.”

The new committee contains one former national player, Sidath Wettimuny, and three businessmen, headed by Upali Dharmadasa who was also part of the sport’s governing body in the 1990s.

The changes come as cricket in Sri Lanka is going through rough times after former national captain Hashan Tillekaratne claimed in April that match fixing had been a widespread practice in Sri Lankan cricket since 1992.

Shortly after the country co-hosted the World Cup this year, the captain, vice-captain and panel of selectors all resigned following defeat in the final to co-hosts India.

There is a widespread feeling that cricket is corruptly and badly run in Sri Lanka, though the sports minister denied this, saying accounts of mismanagement in cricket were exaggerated, and adding: “There is no financial crisis in the SLC.”

Members of both committees would face a parliamentary committee on 6 July to “clear their name from certain wrong media reports”, he added.