Why ICC Is Lenient On Thilanga Sumathipala Even After Having All The ‘Info’ Against Him?

Written by N Krishnamurthy

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has mysteriously been lenient on former Sri Lanka Cricket Board (SLC) president Thilanga Sumathipala even after having enough information about his involvement in betting and gambling business, Cricket Age reliably learns.

Cricket Age understand that several Strictures had been issued to Sumathipala by past ICC Presidents, with Ehsan Mani (who is currently the Pakistan Cricket Board President) writing to him stated that the ICC Board had passed a resolution that if in the future, he is nominated by Sri Lanka Cricket as its representative on the ICC Executive Board, he shall not be entitled to take up his position on the Board until he has been through the Code of Ethics hearing process envisaged by the Board.

This was consequent to a group of Sri Lankan cricket lovers having helped the ICC by taking them to the locations of his Sporting Star business activities to provide proof of their suspicions and also helped in numerous other ways to identify his other business and private entities to carry out the said fact finding mission.

Thus, having a proven record of being in the betting and gaming business, selling of sports goods and being involved in owning or working in the media, all activities which disqualifies him from holding any position in Sri Lanka Cricket or any other sports association according to the Sports Law of Sri Lanka.

Ironically, these same restrictions are applicable to any Director of the ICC according to the ICC Code of Ethics.

However, this has been overlooked by the ICC for reasons unknown and Sumathipala sits on the ICC Board of Directors’ meetings either with impunity or through neglect on the part of the ICC to enforce the strictures in place, which is surprising and very unethical on the part of an organization of ICC stature, being the global governing body for cricket.

Cricket Age also understands that in 2013, Alan Isaacs from the ICC wrote to Sumathipala stating that during the period 2003-2005, investigations carried out by the ICC’s ACSU. In the investigation, ICC’s Ethics Officer, being subsequently supported by a review carried out by the Chair of the ICC’s Code of Conduct Commission Michael Beloff QC, found that there was evidence that Sumathipala was in breach of various clauses of the ICC’s Code of Ethics, primarily through his relationship with the ‘Sporting Star’ bookmaking business in Sri Lanka.

Moreover, the ICC had his doubts about Sumathipala in way back in 2005 itself.

In June 2005, the ICC had resolved “that if Sumathipala was ever nominated by SLC as its representative on the Board again, he would not be entitled to take up that position until the hearing process took place and a decision was finally made as to whether or not he had committed a breach of the Code of Ethics.”

The ICC Coe of Ethics effective 10th May 2017 states thus:-

2.6.1 An Official may not have a business association (whether direct or indirect) or enter into any business arrangement (whether formal or informal) with any Betting Organisation that involves the payment of any monies to or by, or the conferring of any benefit(s) or advantage(s) upon or by, the Official, either directly or indirectly, as a result of such association or arrangement unless such association or arrangement is disclosed to, and recorded and approved by, the Ethics Officer.


About the author

N Krishnamurthy