Sri Lanka’s Cabinet Secretary directive to Sports Ministry: Obtain Prior approval before appointing Interim committee

Written by N Krishnamurthy

In a significant development, Sri Lanka’s Cabinet Secretary has sent a directive to Sports Ministry asking to obtain prior approval before appointing Interim committees in any of the Sport association thereafter, Cricket Age Exclusively learns.

In a directive, dated 23rd November, WMD Fernando, Secretary to the cabinet of ministers, has stated, based on the cabinet decision on November 20, that until the new Sports Law is introduced in the country, Sports Ministry should follow the guideline – conduct an impartial enquiry and obtain the report, seek advice of the Attorney General and apprise International body of the said Sports.

At present, the Sports Minister has enormous powers as per Sports Act of 1973 in appointment of Interim committee, which SLC was subjected to. This is now overruled by the Cabinet directive.

The cabinet secretary directive is mainly aimed to Cricket, as after rugby and Football, Island’s most cherished game has also suffered a suspension from it’s global body International Cricket Council (ICC).

In November, the apex board suspended Sri Lanka Cricket with immediate effect after “serious breach of its obligations as a Member, in particular, the requirement to manage its affairs autonomously and ensure that there is no government interference in the governance, regulation and/or administration of cricket in Sri Lanka”.

The decision came in the wake of Sri Lanka Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe extreme action to sack the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) over the team’s poor performances at the 50-over Cricket World Cup in India. A court decision reversed the ministry’s verdict, but it was still grounds for the ICC to take action.

The cabinet secretary directive is little too late as the damàge has already been done, but still could be helpful in returning back to full normalcy in Cricket!

The ICC has allowed Sri Lanka to take part in bilateral affairs and ICC events, following a meeting with the SLC representatives on November 21. However, the ICC will still control the funding that goes out to Sri Lanka Cricket.

Sri Lanka, in the meantime, lost the hosting rights for the 2024 U19 World Cup. South Africa, who hosted the tournament back in 2020, is the new host for the tournament to be held in January.

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N Krishnamurthy