SLC Indirectly Ignores Court Ruling
by Nirmala Kannangara
- Although the inter-club tournament had been suspended following the court ruling, the same clubs representing the same players are now playing at the hurriedly organised inter- district limited over tournament
- Kandy district team has only Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) players and no representation from the Kandy District
- According to the sources, it is alleged that the inter-district one day tournament had been organised without obtaining the Executive Committee approval and also without proper player registration
Sri Lanka Cricket is alleged to have indirectly disregarded a court ruling delivered against them. The Cricket Board has come under criticism for not heeding a court ruling given against them preventing from holding inter-club limited cricket tournament. Although the inter-club tournament had been suspended following the court ruling, the same clubs representing the same players are now playing at the hurriedly organised inter-district limited over tournament.
The Negombo Cricket Club filed legal action against Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) seeking an injunction order from holding the inter-club limited over tournament following their unreasonable removal from taking part in the Premier League Tier B tournament. Hence the court issued an injunction order preventing SLC from holding the inter-club limited over tournament until further notice.
Highly reliable SLC sources who wished to remain anonymous said although the court banned conducting inter-club limited over tournament, under the guise of inter –district tournament, inter-club tournament was kicked off on Wednesday March 15, without giving much publicity.
“Action can be taken against SLC Administrators for contempt of court. If we look at the player’s list of each district, it is clearly visible how the Cricket Board had tried to hoodwink the law of the land. For example, the Kandy district team has only Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) players and no representation from the Kandy District. It is the same with the Nuwara Eliya district team as well. The Nuwara Eliya district team is not represented by any player from that district but by the Moors Sports Club players. Similarly, Panadura Sports Club players have played for the Kalutara district while Colombo Cricket Club (CCC) has played for the Colombo district ,” sources alleged.
Although it was the Negombo Cricket Club that went to courts and got the injunction order, it is learnt that SLC had allowed Negombo Cricket Club players to play under the banner –Gampaha district team.
According to the sources, it is alleged that the inter-district one day tournament had been organised without obtaining the Executive Committee approval and also without proper player registration, if played as a district tournament. “If district tournaments are played, a proper player registration has to be carried out. It is a fact that this inter district tournament is being played under the existing major club tournament playing conditions,” sources claimed.
Meanwhile Sports Ministry officials on condition of anonymity said that it is disheartening that Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara too had not taken any action against SLC although they are openly misusing Cricket Board funds and ruining the much respected game in the country.
“It is high time for the President and Prime Minister to intervene on what is going on at SLC and if things are getting out of control, an interim committee should be appointed to look into Cricket Board affairs as how the Prime Minister did soon after this government came into power in 2015,” sources said.
“This tournament had been organised allegedly within a very few days and all the communication had been done over the phone. The district player representation should be from those who are born in the district or should have studied in the district or employed within the districts. If the names of the current players that represent these districts are taken, the district or the provincial selectors should be held responsible if the players are from any other district.
Meanwhile, SLC’s failure to bring the match fixing culprits during the Kalutara Physical Culture Club and Panadura Sports Club, to book over the past two months has raised concern amongst the cricket lovers in the country. The Premium ‘B’ match played between Kalutara Physical Culture Club and Panadura Sports Cub from January 23 to 25 is alleged to have been fixed in order allow the Panadura Sports Club which comes under one of the SLC Executive Committee members to win the championship and get a promotion to ‘Tier A’.
“Although a three member independent committee had been appointed to hold an impartial inquiry, they are dragging their feet without obtaining evidence. Certain high officials at SLC are accused of aiding and abetting match fixing in domestic cricket and their attempt to sweep the investigation under carpet can be seen now. If the Cricket Board really want to get their name cleared and stand firm on those who are involved in match fixing, they would have by now brought the culprits to book,” sources claimed.
According to the sources, although Kalutara Physical Culture Club too comes under one of the SLC office bearers, since they were in the bottom of the list, allowed Panadura Sports Club to score runs freely and obtain more points and become the Champions. Because of these SLC officials who want to bring their clubs on top of the list, domestic cricket is slowly getting plagued with match fixing, it is alleged.
“If Sri Lanka Ports Authority – the table leader in the Premier League ‘B’ division did not take up the match fixing issue, the Cricket Board would have not taken any action as both clubs Kalutara and Panadura are headed by higher officials at SLC. Although the dates were fixed for the three day match few days later the dates were advanced and the venue was changed at the last moment even without the knowledge of the match referees and umpires. It was clearly evident as to how the field was set on the rain interrupted third day allowing the Panadura Sports Club to score freely. The target for the Panadura sports club was 164 runs within 90 balls- 15 overs which was an impossible task. But they achieved that target with eight balls and three wickets remaining in hand,” sources added.
When we asked Tournament Committee Manager Bandula Dissanayake on what basis the district players were selected and whether the players represents the respective districts or new faces were brought from other districts to take part, Dissanayake said the squads were selected by the district and provincial coaches and he is not aware of the selection criteria that was followed.
“After the court issued an injunction order against holding the inter-club limited over tournament, we had to organise inter-district one day tournament instead. With the able support of district and provincial officials we started the tournament last week. In regard to the selection of players, it was done by the district and provincial coaches. The best person for you to get the information is the Vice President SLC, K. Mathivanan who is also the Tournament Director,” Dissanayake said.
When asked whether the independent committee that was appointed to look into the allegations leveled against the match fixing between Kalutara Physical Culture Club and Panadura Sports Club, Dissanayake said that the witness was sick when the committee met last and the inquiry had to be postponed to March 23. When inquired whether the Cricket Board is attempting to sweep the match fixing issue under carpet as both clubs are headed by Cricket Board officials, Dissanayake said that there is no such move and added that the investigation will concluded within a short period.
All attempts to contact Tournament Director, Vice President SLC, K. Mathivanan for a comment failed as he did not answer any of our calls.