A day after Massive controversy erupted over the announcement of the government of constructing the biggest cricket stadium in Homagama, the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) on Monday clarified saying that the project is 100% funded by board with long term loans. The SLC has further clarified that Only the land is given but no funds will be allocated by the Government.
In a media statement, the SLC said:
“We wish to issue this clarification pertaining to several media reports published regarding the proposed International Cricket Stadium in Homagama, which may have created misconceptions in the minds of the readers, which are detrimental to the image of both the Government and the SLC. As such, we earnestly request you to publish the following in clarifying the misunderstandings and misapprehension which may have been created therewith.
SLC wishes to state that the renowned R. PremadasaInternational Cricket Stadium in Khettaramahas been obtained for a 30-year lease from Sugathadasa Sports Complex Authority of Sri Lanka in 2006 and SLC is proud to say that a substantial amount of Cricket has been played in the stadium annually and it is now designated as the High-Performance Centre for Cricket with a view to raise the game to the next level.
For a considerable period of time, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has been on the watch and was exploring possibilities in acquiring a suitable land closer to Colombo to build a fully-fledged International Cricket stadium with a view to accommodating 40,000 spectators, as the need has arisen with the popularity of the game of Cricket and to best suit the demands of the World Cricket.
In the meantime, the proposal was extended to SLC by the Government of Sri Lanka allocating 26 Acre land in Homagama in order to build an international Cricket stadium at SLC’s cost. In view of the diverse climate and bio conditions in the Country, SLC has invested in International Level Cricket Stadiums around the country, which is aimed at playing in different seasons in consideration of the respective weather conditions.
SLC having discussed the Homagama International Cricket Stadium project, called for an Expression of Interests from reputed Audit Firms in Sri Lanka to carry out a feasibility study on the finances associated with the project along with repayments of the capital expenditure to be staggered for a period of 15 years.
In view of the increasing demand for the game and especially due to the popularity of the short formats of the game, the need has arisen to cater to large crowds with easy access in an urban environment. It should also be noted that ICC has now afforded the opportunity for member countries to express the Interest in staging the World Cup series in the respective countries for which it is expected to have at least five international level cricket stadiums in the country with a seating capacity of around 25,000 – 40,000.
It is undoubted that Cricketing events of such magnitude will bring massive foreign currency inflow to the Country which is an essential fact in today’s economy standpoint. Further, it is important to note that Sri Lanka Cricket has also expressed interest in the ICC’s request to host two ICC World Cup events which are scheduled to be held in the year 2023 to 2031.
Taking all aspects into consideration and after evaluating the completion of a comprehensive study on the project’s operational aspect and its financial feasibility, the Executive Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket will decide on how to proceed with investing in this project as the sole investor.
It also should be noted that financial feasibility should assure the non-hindrance to the operational and other development projects which are currently engaged by SLC due to the commencement of the Homagama International Cricket Stadium project.
As such, this project will be an absolute and private investment of Sri Lanka Cricket and no government funds will be utilized and/or will be sought at any stage of the construction.”
Yesterday, the Government announced that Sri Lanka’s biggest cricket stadium to be constructed in Homagama. Cabinet co-spokesman and Minister Bandula Gunawardena, Secretary to the Ministry of Urban Development Priyath Bandu Wickrama visited the proposed land allocated to build the land along with Sri Lanka Cricket President Shammi Silva.
Bandula Gunawardena said that ground will be completely constructed within 3 years. He said that 26 acres of land has been allocated for the project at Diyagama in Homagama.
The announcment was widely criticized, not only by the cricket fans, but also by the legendary former Sri Lanka Captain Mahela Jayawardene, who questioned the decision to construct another international cricket stadium in the country, saying that we don’t even play enough international cricket or domestic first class cricket in the existing stadiums we have.
“We don’t even play enough international cricket or domestic first class cricket in the existing stadiums we have … Do we need another one?” Jayawardene had tweeted.