The Sunday Leader

Charting The History Of Association Football In Sri Lanka

By  Hafiz Marikar

Continued from last week

At a well-attended meeting of football enthusiasts held on August 20, 1928 at the Grand Oriental Hotel, a national steering committee headed by Sir John Tabart as Chairman and R.H. Marks as Secretary was formed to pursue this matter.  For more than one reason the formation of a National Body drifted away into oblivion, though the sport was daily gathering momentum as a lively and competitive recreation.  However, following a meeting held on March 17, 1939, a special General Meeting was convened on  April 3, 1939 among representatives of Football Clubs, Service Units, the planting community, the Public Service and the Mercantile Sector, at which the first national Body for Football was formed under the name of the Ceylon Football Association.  This epoch- making meeting was held at the Galle Face Hotel and the following office bearers were elected: Patron Sir John Tarbat, President C.W. Mackie Jr., Vice Presidents J.C. Robinson, J. Forbes, S.C. Traill, R. Brough and Lt. Col. Stanley Fernando, with R. Mackie as the Secretary General, and donavan Andre as Treasurer. By this time, the Second World War was  in full swing, and though uninvolved directly, Sri Lanka was adopting precautionary measures in almost every field of activity.  Naturally, the activities of the newly-formed Ceylon Football Association had to be curbed.

With the Second World War over and the debris cleared away, the Ceylon Football Association was back on its feet by 1946 with Capt W.T. Brindley as President, A.A. Perera as Secretary G. Feneralm and Cecil Vovks as Treasurer.  In 1948 Dr. A.R.M.

Waffarn, a knowledgeable and keen follower of British football, took over as Secretary General of the Ceylon Football Association,  re-shaping the devotees of local football with his sharp, sure and sensible approach to the sport.

The following were the distinguished personalities who adorned the office of  President of Ceylon Football Association, or the Football Federation of Sri Lanka, the new name that hasn’t been changed since then.  The presidents included C.W Mackie Jr., Capt.

W.T. Brindley, G.L Yule, Cdr. G.R.M. de Mel, E.A. Badman, Sir Allan Rose, Hon. V.A. Sugathadasa, Dr. N.D. Wijesekera, M.D., Kitchilan , B.G.S. David, I.D.M. Van Twest, Vernon Manilal Feranando, H.W.H. Weerasinghe, Weerasinghe Mallimarachchi, J.N.S.Anandaraja. Bodhi Liyanage, Gamini Randeniya and Thilina Panditharathne. The names of Secretary Generals, who chipped in to make football the number one sport in our land, is worthy of mention: J.C Bocks, A.A Perera, A.R.M. Weaffran, A.W. Musafer, P.M. Wijesundaram, AV.K. Aruumugam, R. Jeevaratnam, J.J. Sarangapany, M.H. Yusuf, Trevor Reckerman, Lt. Col. C.S. Fernando, Chrysantha Perera, G.A.W. Abeyasekara and M. Sally.
As football grew popular local football clubs were formed.  Some of the earlier clubs were St. Michaels SC, Havelocks Football Club (now famous for rugby), Java Lane SC, Wekande SC, Moors Football Club, and the CH & FC., and Harlequins Football Club.

All the good work done by the above is appreciated, but the man who gave a new lease of life to the game and administration is none other than Manila Fernando, the Management Committee Chairman of Local Football, Senior Vice President of Asian Football, FIFA Development Officer, and Legal Committee member of FIFA.

It is he who built Football House, the Beddegana Training Center, Vernon Fernando Stadium at Kalutara, stadiums at Matara, Kelaniya, Wattala, Mannar, Ampara, Badulla, City Football League, and also gave a big hand for the new CR & FC pavilion. He is also hoping to give a helping hand to Havelocks SC, a pioneer football club of the olden days.   Many more stadiums and playing fields are to come up in the near future.

2 Comments for “Charting The History Of Association Football In Sri Lanka”

  1. Guy Pakeman

    Hi, I work for a tv show called FIFA Futbol Mundial and am planning on coming to Sri Lanka in February – it would be great to be able to ask some questions about football in the country. Please email me. Guy

  2. Oh well we always have next time..It just hurts the US lost to Ghna..

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