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What happened to amended SLRFU constitution ?

Kiran Atapattu

By Lal Gunesekera

The former Executive Director of the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU), Dilroy Fernando, has misled the media on Hiru FM Radio on May 12 where he had said that the constitution of the SLRFU clearly states that the Executive Director and one other office-bearer are empowered to sign cheques.

Fernando has even showed this old 1992, constitution to HSBC and Standard Chartered Banks misinforming them (the banks) by concealing the amended constitution where the Ministry of Sports Annulled Section XIII Clause 3 (d) on February 23, 1999  under reference 1/4/6/67, which reads under Administration and Accounts: All cheques issued by the Union shall have two signatories consisting of any two of the following office-bearers- (1) Chairman/President, (2) Deputy Chairman/ Vice-President, (3) Treasurer, (4) Secretary.

"Fernando has been signing cheques for 2005, 2006 and a few months in 2007 and this is a great irregularity on his part?" said Kiran Atapattu, Secretary cum Treasurer of the SLRFU, when The Sunday Leader questioned him on these allegations.

E-mail jugglery

On a complaint made by Rohan Abeykoon, the former Chairman of the Rugby Selectors on February 24, 2009 under the subject "Selections of rugby pool" to Atapattu and Lasitha Gunaratne (CEO of SLRFU), which reads "This is a read receipt I got from Dilroy Fernando to the e-mail I sent the following. So I believe he is able to read the slrfuadmin-addressed mails. Just so, you can inquire and take precautions. Or it could be a case of the slrfuadmin address still having Dilroy Fernando's name on the system, so the read message is still carrying his name. However, the read receipt is different to the slrfuadmin address. That's why I was concerned."

On this same E-mail message (outgoing mail) for was read on February 24,2009 at 2.09 p.m. which clearly proves that the mail sent to slrfuadmin has an auto reply confirming receipt from the e-mail of Dilroy Fernando.

On receipt of this complaint by Abeykoon and proof, Kiran Atapattu, started his investigation when in April 2009, he discovered a Sri Lanka Telecom official invoice bearing account number 0006351374 in the name of W.D.L. Fernando of 18 Daya Road, Wellawatte having the SLRFU official e-mail address (slrfuadmin) and also the private e-mail address of Dilroy Fernando ( under one account. When questioned by The Sunday Leader, Kiran Atapattu replied: "Do you want me to say that the SLRFU headquarters is located at 18 Daya Road, Wellawatte."

Investigating further, Kiran Atappattu, had discovered that e-mails received onto the computer solely operated by Senaka Colombage, the Administration Manager at SLRFU, having e-mail identity ( had forwarded all incoming mails both from Sri Lanka as well as from overseas to the e-mail address of  Dilroy Fernando ( All these e-mails that were forwarded were not shown to either Dr. Maiya Gunasekera (Chairman of SLRFU IC), Kiran Atapattu (Secretary cum Treasurer of SLRFU IC) or Lasitha Gunaratne (CEO of SLRFU IC).

"This is a complete dishonesty on the part of sender Senaka Colombage and recipient Dilory Fernando" said Atapattu when asked for his comments.

The best part of this episode is that the CR & FC newsletter for January 2009 had been typed on the SLRFU computer and a Sri Lanka Rugby Referees Association (SLRRA) letter addressed to Kiran Atapattu from Dilroy Fernando on February 5, 2009 regarding remittances has also been typed on the same computer. Atapattu also told The Sunday Leader that the IC has curtailed its expenses to Rs. 19 lakhs since taking over in January to April end, without any tamashas etc.

He further said: "When we tookover, we thought that the previous administration had taken an overdraft of Rs. 16 million from Standard Chartered Bank, but to our amazement, we discovered that they had even applied for an overdraft from HSBC for Rs. 1.5 million. They spent Rs. 1,371,000  and continued paying back interest and a Treasury Bill as security. And a call deposit under Tsunami Funds."

"As a businessman, the worst thing is paying interest. As soon as the Treasury Bill matured, and with the money in Tsunami Call Depsoits, we wiped out this overdraft taken by the previous regime to prevent paying further interest," said Atapattu.

Meanwhile, Colombage's services were terminated on Wednesday from the post of Administrative Manager of the SLRFU while Dilroy Fernando, who was appointed as the Provincial Development Officer of the SLRFU, was also removed.

Dilroy Fernando when contacted by The Sunday Leader said that not only he, but senior council members do not know anything about any amendments to the SLRFU Constitution. He further said that he signed cheques during the time of Priynatha Ekanayake, and DIG Nimal Lewke put a stop to it. He said, "I have not robbed the Union and not guilty of any of these allegations made by the IC, who should prove if I have done anything wrong."

Captaincy is an important aspect

Lets discuss captaincy to day. This aspect of the game is as important as the others. First thing a junior cricketer must realise is that there can be only one captain. A captain is selected on the basis of his ability to lead the game on his feet. He has to be astute, have the ability to inspire his mates and get the best out of each member.

It is half the battle to have the confidence of the team that you lead onto the field. A captain prepares himself well ahead of the game. He has already analysed his opponents strengths and weaknesses. He knows his teams capabilities on a given day. I say "a given day" because many factors impact on this statement. The condition of the wicket, the form of his batsmen and frontline bowlers and the relative strengths of his opponents.

Thinking captain

A thinking captain will single-handedly change the course of a game in his teams favour.He should ring in the right bowling changes, correct field placings and be able to take bold and innovative decisions. A school cricket captain is assisted by a coach in preparation and also just prior to the match commencing with decisions such as team composition, batting order and whether to bat first or bowl. I am a firm believer a good captainshould not shy away from speaking his mind and contributing his thoughts to the coachon theseoccasions. Once the coach knows the captains thought process he would also share his views before coming to a compromise solution. Thisis important as its the captain who leads the team onto the field and he is alone thereafter to make the decisions. The captain should feel confidentof the team that he leads onto the field and also the action plan he has for the game in hand.

Act on his feet

Of course all well laid plans do not go accordingly and that is why I say that a good captain should be able to think and act on his feet. He will have to resort to different modes as the game unfolds as the occasion demands. He will have to deviate from theearly instructions of the coach if the situation requires such.It is here that a captain is deemed lucky to have a few senior or even juniors who are good thinkers of the game who could be consulted. Remember a good captain will take responsibility for all thedecisions he makes even if it came as advice of a team mate. This would be so for the errors too. It is then that his team mates will respect himand give off their best to the collective efforts in the future games as well.

I recall how Mike Brearly the former English captain got the best out of an ordinary team and made them perform like champions. He was of course well versed in human psychology and used it to inspire his mates.His deeds are legendary and now written and spoken of by all top cricketers around the world. Lets not forget our ownMichael Tissera and the master of them all Arjuna Ranatunge. Arjuna got the best out of our opening bowlers who by no means were top drawer. Astute and sometimes brash he had the ability to turn a game around by ringing in superb bowling changes. A score that read 170 for two wickets would invariable be 280 all out with Arjuna taking control when a wicket broke a partnership.

So all you youngsters watch thetop teams captains perform and run through in your minds what you would do if you were the captain on the field. It gets you thinking about the game at a different level which would makeyou a better and a thinking cricketer.

My coaching programme sponsored by Coca Cola International is progressing well and the Aravinda de Silva foundation is proud of its progress.

Probe Wushu death, but
don't kill-off other sports

Any death in sport competitions warrants a thorough official investigation, and so the Education Ministry's ban on Wushu, a full-contact sport, last week, pending an inquiry into the death of a 17-year-old schoolboy participant, was to be expected.

Supporters of this martial art sport, though, will likely argue that imposing a ban even before an inquiry is conducted is hasty and unfair, and gives the sport a bad name before all the facts are known. But hang on, what is being probed here is the death of a young competitor during competition, and so, any preventive measure taken in the interim for safety's sake is not to be scorned. The ban, after all, isn't permanent, pending as it does on the findings and conclusions of the ministerial inquiry.

Mature view

Thus, there's little to fault the Education Ministry's reaction to the death of the D S Senanyake MV student - except to ask why it didn't react similarly when the first death of a schoolboy wushuite occurred. Six months ago, Wushu claimed another young life - and nary was a sound heard from the Education or Sport ministry. The reaction then seemed to be one of acceptance that death is an occupational hazard of sport - which is a mature view really, provided of course the competitor's death was due not to any breach or neglect of the laws and conditions laid down to ensure the safety of the sport's participants. No sport, after all, incorporates laws that allow its practitioners to maim or murder opponents.

Had the ministry reacted to the first death as earnestly as it did to the second, then, Wushu might've been spared of its recent fatality. Reportedly, some officials have said the victim had complained of headaches before his contest - and that he was allowed to fight despite that suggests flaws in the medical supervision of participants at the meet, a pre-requisite for any contact sport. For the moment that flaw remains conjecture; the probe must establish its veracity.

If the ministry was willing to pass up the first death as one of sport's many accidents, a second tragedy six months later was one too many to ignore. It isn't difficult to believe that the outrage of the parents might've prompted the ministry probe, especially as the competition in which the 17-year old perished was reportedly conducted by the Education Ministry-affiliated Schools Association - which is to say, the ministry too has some answering to do.

Ban of five combat sports

What ever, the interim ban on Wushu is a logical response. But to extend that ban to five other combat sports is, well, pretty much razing the woodlands to the ground because of one diseased tree. The five sports compelled to carry Wushu's cross: karate, taekwondo, judo, boxing and wrestling.

The list doesn't make sense. It is made-up of sports that are supposedly dangerous and so requires a re-think on their suitability to remain as extracurricular activities in schools.

 But anyone who has even a glimpsing knowledge of judo and wrestling will tell you they are anything but dangerous: There's no collision of flesh on flesh nor an exchange of blows; only a tugging of each other's uniform (in judo) and each other's torso (wrestling) as the players search for a way to pin opponents down to a soft canvas. Of course, an awkward tumble carries harmful risks - same as the risk batsmen face of being felled by a bouncer. But to avoid such accidents is a required skill of sport, be it cricket, judo or wrestling.

Chinese martial arts

Karate and taekwondo, like Wushu, belong to the family of Chinese martial arts, and were historical forms of combat when the middle kingdom was ruled by emperors and kings -and adopted as sport by China in the 50s and 60s. They might've been dangerous in the way they were practiced during those ancient times, but the fact that these disciplines have now won global - and Olympic - acceptance is proof of their safety. Else the world would've rejected martial art sports as too dangerous to practice.

In Sri Lanka, neither karate nor taekwondo are known to have caused any death. Relatively new sports, their place in the schools sporting calendar is entirely due to the dedicated work of their officials. It has to be said that the future of the sports is anything but established, constantly having to cope with competition from the more entrenched and popular games. Now banned and subjected to the ministry scrutiny, officials of karate and taekwondo have legitimate reasons to be aggrieved and wonder if it's all been a case of love's lost labour. But then bureaucracy is a clumsy, heartless animal.

Be that as it may, by any measure Wushu's two deaths six months of each other are alarming. The ministerial probe will have to establish (1) if the sport is being conducted willy-nilly, so, endangering the lives of its participants; in other words whether all the safety requirements are adhered to, or (2) if the inherent dangers in wushu are too great to expose schoolchildren to, and if so, should be forbidden in schools.

Wushu is on trial and the searching examination it faces is both necessary and deserved. But by adding other sports into the Wushu probe, the ministry is as good as casting the same suspicion on five other disciplines -because all of them are combative in nature and so, according to ministry logic, are dangerous; as if sport is meant to be hop-scotch or hide 'n seek!  

The ministry, of course, claims the ban is only temporary, but that is of little comfort to the five "innocent'' sports. It's anybody's guess how long temporary will be, but given that government and urgency reside in different worlds, a period of long abeyance isn't impossible. What ever the duration of the ban is, the five sports are entitled to think damage has already been inflicted, especially schools boxing.

Given the many ring deaths at the senior level, boxing has long been stigmatized as dangerous. As is to be expected, the call for a ban on schools boxing has been heard from way back. So there's reason to fear that the present ban, albeit temporary, might again activate the anti-boxing lobby. It has to be said, however, the anti-lobby protests were kept at bay only because schools boxing had quite some convincing things to say in its defence - none more compelling than that it has a history dating back to 1914 (the year of the inauguration of the Stubbs Shield) but not one ring death against its name.

Usefulness of Boxing

Its usefulness is acknowledged by all the defence services: being a boxer is considered an added qualification for recruitment into the Army, Navy, Air Force and Police. "The nature of the services job is combative - and so is boxing. You could say, boxers and servicemen belong to one and the same family,'' said Lt. Col. (Retd) Hemantha Weerasinghe, ABA Secretary. "If you ask me if the choice is between a cricketer/footballer and a boxer, who would it be, then I have to say any service would pick the boxer.''

The temporary ban has already claimed at least one schools meet: the L V Jayaweera trophy, a contest exclusively for newcomers. The four-day meet was to begin last Thursday in Pilimatallawe, near Peradeniya, and normally attracts 300-400 participants, a majority from rural schools. In terms of outstation development, the meet is regarded singly the most crucial.

 "Of the 58-odd schools doing boxing, more than 50 are from the outstations. So, the cancellation of the meet is going to cause a huge disappointment in the outstations.  You shouldn't forget that this was going to be the participants first-ever meet, and for the unsophisticated rural boxers it is an important day in their lives. That it won't take place will obviously hurt them deeply,'' says Weerasinghe. "The ban throws our fixtures calendar into disarray, and I am not sure if we can find suitable alternate days for the event. Since the LV Jayaweera is a novice's meet, it is the first meet of the year and provides the stepping stone to the higher-grade contests that follow. If we have to drop the meet due to the absence of appropriate dates to stage it, what that means is Sri Lanka boxing would've lost a year's supply of fresh talent - too big a price to pay for no fault of ours.''

But when ministry officials who can't differentiate one sport from another are made decision-makers, then the risk of harm to sport is, well, a lot more than wuhshuites face in competition.

Where is the rule?

By Richard McCarter

The Rule of Law is something that's on everyone's lips at the moment, what with the whole war thing and all that. Well - maybe not everyone, but at least some traitorous NGOs and evil foreigners who have nothing better to do than devote their time to vilifying Sri Lanka for some sinister yet hitherto indeterminate personal gain. But it's still a phrase that's being bandied about.

Despite this bandying however, there is some incredible trickle down which is occurring even in rugby. While the government gives the 'up yours' to the International Community, rugby administrators and participants continue to wag their fingers - and not the index one - at any form of logic and reason. Let us examine a few colossal gaffes. Just a few.

Old Zahirian Bootout

You remember the Old Zahirians right? The ones that there was a constant race to score a hundred points against? Kandy even managed this on the odd occasion. Well, apparently they were told on the phone that errr.they might not be playing the 'A' Division this year. Less than a fortnight before the tournament begins.

Short notice by anybody's definition. They are informed that Navy - coincidentally captained by Yoshitha Rajapakse who is playing his first proper season of Club rugby - will be taking their place instead. Surely, there must be a tournament rule to be followed, with regard to promotion and demotion? If so why isn't it followed? What is the process for entering new teams into the Championship?

Admittedly Old Zahira is not a very good team. Navy is infinitely better, hence their agreement to play a 'playoff' at a moment's notice. However, that is not the point. It was never the point, and doing the right thing should be the point. But the point is lost somewhere in oblivion.

Schools Rugby Saga

The temerity of the Sri Lanka Schools Rugby Football Association is galling. Faced with a  legal challenge questioning their obvious mistake, the Association has the gumption to cancel an entire tournament. Not one of the heads of the SLSRFA have rolled, when the entire Committee should probably have been a reason for dragging a guillotine out of cold storage. The officials of the Schools body could not answer the District Judge of Colombo when they were asked why the entire (B and C Division) tournaments were also cancelled along with the A Division - which had a problem.

This apathy towards one's job is a feature that is tolerated by Sri Lankans. Rugby watchers are quick to hurl abuse at referees and fight with other spectators who are only doing their job (blowing the game and cheering their team as opposed to yours) but yet we are so lackadaisical about taking up the cudgels against incompetent, malicious, degenerate officials.

National Captaincy

Sri Lanka have been playing rugby for over a century now and national captains must have been appointed at least fifty times surely? Does the SLRFU not have some criteria for captaincy?

If they did - and it was followed, neither Dushanth Lewke or Dilanka Wijesekera would have suffered the fate that befell them. If the criteria exists, the SLRFU should make it public and transparent, thereby eliminating calls of nepotism. While it is true that players should not captain because their fathers (or in some instances 'godfathers' are influential), by the same token players should not be deprived of a deserving captaincy just because of a coincidental paternal quirk of office.

When did players, in any sport, wherever in the world assume the right to decide who captains them? Is this selfishness something rugby players are proud of?

On the flip side, how much does one have to protest to stop nepotism? The simple question is pulling out will never be an answer to the problem. It is just a short term strategy for personal gain. The solution is not to boycott - it is to make sure tolerance of ineptitude is eliminated.

Player Eligibility

Once again one must ask what the SLSRFA actually DOES! Apart from not conducting tournaments.

Problems on player eligibility used to rest on players ages, with falsified birth certificates allowing some overage players to represent schools. Now, the fashionable crime is to fail one's O Levels. Twice.  This year Imad Reyal from Kandy may not be able to play either for his former school St. Anthony's or his current school Trinity. The O Levels are an issue. Last year Sajith Saranga precipitated the whole crisis by playing when he was not supposed to. Various Education Ministry guidelines, directives and rules were jousted with. Why? Because clarity and transparency does not exist.

Surely it cannot be too difficult to state on what criteria a player will be allowed to represent a school. Since player crossovers to more 'prestigious' (for lack of a better word) schools has become a common occurrence, should not the authorities simplify the rules - if any exist - surrounding them?

Two days ago news of two Thomian rugby players who have crossed over from Vidyartha flashed across the back pages. On further inspection it appears that the rules and regulations surrounding the players are numerous and more complicated than an F1 car's steering wheel. Sadly, only half the facts were reported and that too by a Trinitian on the eve of Trinity's match with STC.

The timing seems so unfortunate it can only be assumed to be deliberate, as S. Thomas' had played two games this season already with no questions being asked. This is the same Trinity that last week said they were 'unsettled' by referee D. Nimal and therefore lost to St. Joseph's. Pass the grapes please.

How and why is it possible to for query after query of this nature to surface and resurface regardless of the timing? If there was information available that ineligible players are participating the matter should be raised immediately and not after the fact. Is there a process for this? And if so, why isn't it followed.

But such is the abuse of power and the tolerance of it. Rugby has degenerated to its lowest ebbs. To use the financial industry term - one can only hope it has 'bottomed out'. If it hasn't, and keeping with the analogy, what are we - the virtual investors - doing about it? I may be raising too many questions without providing answers, but there are people whose job it is to have these answers.

NOC requests Rs. 20 million from Sports Ministry

By Lal Gunesekera

Hatton National Bank (HNB) Gave a donation of Rs 20 million to the National Sports Fund to wards the SAARC Games held in Sri Lanka in 2006. The Government of Sri Lanka spent Rs 800 million to host this sporting event in the country.

Now, after nearly four years, the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Sri Lanka headed by Hemasiri Fernando, has thought it fit to request the Ministry of Sports and Public Recreation for the Rs 20 million given by HNB to the National Sports Fund. How much did the NOC spend for the 2006 SAARC Games.?

A further sum of Rs 450,000 is to be requested from the Ministry of Sports by the NOC for four dress/fashion designers to visit Singapore during the Asian youth Games in June -July, to design an attire for Sri Lanka competitors when they go overseas for various sports events, such as the Olympic, Asian, Common wealth Games etc.

This proposal was sent to Sports Minister, Gamini Lokuge, by the NOC recently.

Not voluntarily

Kiran Atapattu did not voluntarily disclose any information regarding The Sunday Leader Articles on Dilroy Fernando, former Executive Director of the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU).

When investigations by The Sunday Leader  needed to ascertain and verify certain facts, these were clarified from Kiran Atapattu, in his capacity of Secretary Cum Treasurer of the Interim Committee for SLRFU.

The Sunday Leader possesses all documentary evidence pertaining to the said articles.

Alexander in national team

By T.M.K. Samat

Sri Lanka's two-man team at last March's eight-nation A. K. Misra Memorial meet in New Delhi was debutantes - and both didn't go beyond their first fight. Not this time around, though. The four-man team for the June 7-13 Asian Elite Championship, in Zhuhai in south China, includes two debutantes: 23-year-old fly weight R M T Dhakshilatha and 30-year-old bantam D M Samarasekera. Feather weight Saman de Silva, the third member, is no old-hand either, debuting only in the New Delhi championships last March.  The fourth boxer, however, provides the most interesting story. Light-fly K C N Alexander, 28, is a veteran who won his first national title back in 2000, while yet a schoolboy of Seevali MMV.

Jeff de Jong no more

Jeffrey de Jong, a well-known ruggerite of the '70s, passed away in Melbourne, Friday, after enduring a terminal illness for some months. He was 56.

After a successful career at St. Peter's, captaining the school in 1972, flanker de Jong joined Havelocks and was part of the club's cup-winning teams in 1974 (captained by Desmond Harridge), 1976 (Thajone Savanghan) and the 1978 triple-crown winning side led by Anton Benedict. De Jong led the 1977 team that emerged league champions. In tribute to the departed, loyal member, the Havelocks flag flies at half-mast.                  - TMKS

Ridgeway cup

99 Years history behind Ridgeway Cup, the first board event of the RCGC ladies Section

The first ladies board event of this golfing season, the Cup has a long and interesting history. Originally this was called Figg cup and was presented in 1910 by W.H. Figg to the Colombo ladies golf club. George Gordon of Hunter & company took it over and presented the prize till 1972 and then the name of the cup was changed to Ridgeway cup

Mrs. Yvonne Abhayaratne has won this event 5 times and Miss Thuhashini Selveratnam 4 times.

The Ridgeway cup matches has already started and the final will be played on the 5th of June 2009

This year again it is sponsored by Alankara and we thank Mrs. Roshini Sangani

Managing Director for her generosity

Soccer at Royal

The Royal College Inter House Foot Ball Tournament was conducted during last week at the Royal College Grounds. The below mentioned House Teams have qualified for the finals which are to be held on Sunday the 17th May 2009 at the Royal College Sports Complex Grounds starting at 1.30 pm.

Royal College Union advisory and Management Committee together with Principal and staff of Royal College cordially invite all the past Royalists and Foot Ball lovers to witness the finals.

Finals U-13 Boake Vs Harward, U-15 Marsh Vs Harward, U-17 Marsh Vs Hartley, U-19 Boake Vs Reed







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