By 2023 there will be only 15 First Class Teams: Top Decision Maker of Sri Lanka Cricket

Written by N Krishnamurthy

Sri Lanka’s 2021-22 domestic cricket season is set to kick-off with the Major Limited-Over Inter-Club tournament on 5 September and the Major League Inter-Club tournament from 10 September. Both tournaments will be run concurrently to each other and are due to be completed by the end of December.

All 26 clubs will play in the League tournament in two groups of 13 teams each at the end of which the leader of each group will qualify to play in a 4-day final. In previous years, the 26 clubs played in two different Tiers – Tier A comprised 14 clubs and Tier B consisted of 12 clubs.

Amid the speculations and confusion over the new domestic cricket structure in the Island, one of the top most decision maker of Sri Lanka confirmed Cricket Age that there will be only 15 First Class teams by 2023.

“From this year itself, we are intended of relegating 4 teams. Next year (2022) four more teams will be relegated followed by 3 in 2023. So, by 2023, we will bring down First Class teams from 26 to 15” the top most decision maker told Cricket Age.

He also explained the logic behind putting all 26 teams against each other in two groups in this year competition.

“This year All 26 clubs will play in the League tournament in two groups of 13 teams each and will start relegating teams as we can’t just scrap the 1st class status from tier B as they have been enjoying the status for years. By 2023 Sri Lanka will have only 15 First Class teams. However this structure is subject to approval from the stakeholders at the EGM, which will take place soon” the top decision maker added.

Earlier in the day, Cricket Age had published that majority of segment A clubs have opposed new domestic cricket structure. The top decision maker, however, made it clear that this is the right move in moving forward.

“See, these clubs are enjoying First Class status and annual grants since decades. So, obviously, they won’t like any change in the system. But, we are crystal clear in our approach to reduce the number of First Class teams. This will make Sri Lanka domestic cricket competitive once again” he added.

At the same time, he also clarified that during a high profile meeting at Sports Ministry last week, former Sri Lanka captain and present ICC match referee Ranjan Madugalle had actually given some suggestions to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) office bearers, not to cricket advisory committee members.

“He (Madugalle) made some suggestions to SLC officials. Cricket advisory committee is serving Sri Lanka cricket on honorary capacity” the top decision maker concluded.

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N Krishnamurthy