Sri Lanka President removes Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe with Immediate Effect

Written by N Krishnamurthy

In a significant development, Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickramasinghe Monday issued a letter removing Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe from his Ministerial and other posts with immediate effect. The decision, however, is rather unsurprsingly as Ranasinghe had started accusing President Ranil also on various grounds. It all started when Ranasinghe informed Parliament that the President told him to withdraw the appointment of the SLC Interim Committee, if not he would be taking over the Sports Law. Though, the letter came after Minister alleged that the President is framing him along with Sagala Ratnayake.

Officials said Roshan Ranasinghe was dismissed ahead of Monday’s weekly cabinet meeting after he told parliament that Wickremesinghe should be held responsible if he was killed. “I fear I could be killed over my work to clean up the cricket board,” Ranasinghe told parliament, escalating a confrontation with Wickremesinghe who had been at loggerheads with the minister over the running of Sri Lanka Cricket.

“If I am assassinated on the road, the president and his chief of staff will be responsible,” Ranasinghe said.

Earlier in the month, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) had requested the intervention of President Ranil Wickremesinghe, stating that its day-to-day operations are being affected due to the “deliberate harassment from the sports ministry.”

In a letter addressed to the President, the SLC highlighted the Sports Ministry’s interference in several recent tournaments.

The hosting of the ICC World Cup – Under 19, Lanka T10 Super League, Ex-Co members’ representation, rejection of Japanese opportunities, and participation in the Men’s ICC Cricket World Cup, Sri Lanka Tour of New Zealand, Asia Cup Championship 2022 are among the tournaments highlighted by the SLC.

Ranasinghe sacked the elected cricket board earlier this month after accusing office-bearers of gross corruption, a charge they have denied and are challenging in court.

The cricket board is the richest sporting organisation in the otherwise bankrupt island country.

The International Cricket Council suspended Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) earlier this month, saying it had failed to ensure there was no government interference in its affairs, violating the world body’s rules.

Ranasinghe has refused the president’s calls to revoke the sacking of the board.

About the author

N Krishnamurthy