By Channaka de Silva
International Cricket Council (ICC) has questioned if Sri Lanka’s new government is acting in the best interest of cricket, after SLC Interim Committee member Nuski Mohamed informed ICC of the actions taken by the government.
ICC had made their feelings clear to the Sports Minister Navin Dissanayake in a letter sent by ICC Chairman N. Srinivasan and ICC Chief Executive David Richardson on April 23.
“On the basis of the information available to the ICC, the ICC would like to place on record its concern about this action by the government, which on the face of it calls into question the government’s desire to act in the best interests of cricket in Sri Lanka” stated the letter.
“In this respect, the ICC’s Finance & Commercial Affairs Committee (the “F&CA”), which met on the afternoon of 15th April, considered together with Mr. Mohamed (who was invited to the meeting for this specific purpose) the ICC’s continuing concern about the apparent decision of the new government of Sri Lanka to renege on a commitment made by the former President of Sri Lanka that stadia construction costs of Rs 567m incurred by SLC in the lead-up to the ICC’s Cricket World Cup 2011 and owed to a company known to the ICC as SEC (i.e. State Engineering Corporation of Sri Lanka) would be waived in their entirety. Mr Mohamed explained that this commitment which had been provided by the former President of Sri Lanka was no longer being honoured and that the new government had decided to require SLC to make such payment, which Mr Mohamed was in the process of restructuring through a long-term repayment plan by SLC” the letter added.
The ICC letter however is very clear on how they have formed their opinion about the new Sri Lanka government as they went on to add; “The ICC recognizes that it does not have all of the relevant information in this matter, but has relied on the information and representations provided by Mr Mohamed last week, and also by representatives of SLC previously (including Mr Mohamed himself) at earlier ICC Committee and Board meetings”.
Richardson and Srinivasan have gone on to add that though they have misgivings about how the Sri Lanka government is acting, they (ICC) are keen to resolve the interim committee issue “in the best interest of cricket in Sri Lanka”
“As with the appointment of the Interim Committee, we would welcome the opportunity to discuss this matter with you at the earliest possible opportunity so that the ICC can understand how these circumstances have materialized and to seek to resolve them in a manner that is in the best interests of cricket in Sri Lanka” added the letter.
Interestingly, the two big men of the ICC have offered to come down to Sri Lanka and hold discussions, though for some unknown reason their offer had not been made use of. Instead Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) spent several millions of Rupees to send three officials of the SLC interim committee together with the Sports Minister for a discussion with ICC officials at ICC headquarters in Dubai.
“We would be grateful if you could please furnish us with all relevant details and information that may be relevant to the ICC’s further consideration of this matter, and if considered necessary, we would be happy to travel to Sri Lanka to meet with you to discuss the same” stated the letter at the conclusion, simply showing how keen ICC had been to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.
ICC has also shown some serious concern over the appointment of the interim committee as they have pointed out that there is a clear prima facie case of political interference, which the ICC cannot tolerate under their constitution.
The letter went onto add; “ICC’s Board specifically noted that the following circumstances may constitute a prima facie breach by a Member of Article 2.9 (without limitation):
l failing to follow any part of the election process prescribed in a Member’s constitution, where such failure might reasonably be seen as impeding, restructuring or in any way undermining the ability of the Member to deliver a free election process;
l appointing to the Executive Body (i.e. the Board) a nominee from outside the membership of a Member who has not been appointed by the Executive Body;
l permitting a government/government official/government department/public body to require the appointment of any particular person onto an Executive Body;
l allowing a government/government official/government department/public body to unilaterally remove an Executive Body (or any part thereof) and replace it with government appointees;
l allowing a government/government official/government department/public body to exercise direct influence over the election process for the Executive Body (or any part theeof), for example, by requiring a Member Board to hold its elections in a particular location, on a particular date or in a particular manner other than in accordance with the Member’s constitution; and
l the government exercising any form of influence, whether direct or indirect, over the administration of cricket in a member country.
Notwithstanding the above, after careful consideration, and in accordance with the examples previously considered, it was the unanimous opinion of GovCom that the imposition of an Interim Committee was indicative of a prima facie breach by SLC of the ICC’s constitution and that it would therefore not be fair or appropriate to recognize Mr Nuski Mohamed (in his capacity as an alternate for the Interim Committee’s President, Mr Sidath Wettimuny) at the ICC Board meeting as a full member of the ICC Board” the letter added explaining why Mohamed was left out of the ICC Board meeting.
The letter also makes it clear that ICC would not mind political interference, if that is a genuine effort to curb corruption in cricket.
“Finally, please note that it is not the ICC’s place to challenge or question the rationale behind the imposition of the Interim Committee. Indeed, the ICC Board has also previously noted that a government-appointed investigation or inquiry into the domestic affairs of a member (or any individual member of an Executive Body) in order to ascertain whether any civil or criminal offence has been committed, for example where there are allegations of fraud, dereliction of directors’ duties (including fiduciary duties) or breach of any relevant legislation is unlikely to constitute a breach of Article 2.9. In other words, the ICC supports all efforts to free sports administration from any corrupt activity, wherever and however it may be uncovered and wholeheartedly supports any inquiry into such allegations, no matter who they relate to. We assure the Sports Ministry of all cooperation in that respect” stated the letter.
However, the letter was very clear on ICC’s intentions.
“Whilst recognizing that governments often have an incredibly important and diverse role to play in the development of cricket in any country, the ICC acknowledged, in a manner consistent with the approach taken by many other sporting federations such as the IOC, FIFA and IRB, that there are many good sporting and governance reasons for discouraging (and in fact prohibiting) unwanted government interference” it said.
ICC also pointed out in the letter that the Sri Lankan officials could have avoided a difficult situation, had they acted a bit more sensibly before appointing an interim committee.
“In fact, it would have been helpful if the Sports Ministry and/or SLC had brought the matter to the attention of the ICC prior to the sudden imposition of the ‘Interim Committee’, in which case it might have been possible to avoid the situation in which the parties now find themselves” said the letter.
They have also reminded the Minister that ICC had warned Sri Lanka of the consequences of political interference, before the interim committee was appointed.
“As is customary in such circumstances, the ICC’s CEO wrote to the then Honorary-Secretary of SLC, Mr Nishantha Ranatunga, highlighting the risk that such action could put SLC in breach of the ICC’s constitution, that a full and proper investigation would need to be carried out, but that any unjustified interference might expose SLC to the possibility of having its membership suspended by the ICC Board, which would have considerably damaging consequences” said the letter.
ICC also was clear that they believe that the Minister has to resolve the issue with SLC membership and former office bearers mutually,
“However, if you think that there is any purpose to be served by the ICC’s representatives attending a meeting with the Sports Minister, Interim Committee and former ‘office bearers’ of SLC for the purposes of trying to reach a mutually agreeable solution, then we would be very happy to participate in such a meeting at your convenience” the letter states.
Comments - 7
Era Friday, 22 May 2015 04:07 PM
Siriniwasan is ganging up with Nishantha for certain. Both are corrupt and flocks together. Only if ICC eas more democratic.
Kumar Friday, 22 May 2015 04:48 PM
This is about the sixth interim committee wonder what is all this about, ICC please pay up your dues to SLC so they could move on with the business of good cricket administration, please stop bullying
Aba Jayasekera Sunday, 24 May 2015 05:41 AM
What the hell does the ICC know about governance in Sri Lanka and what right do they have to criticize our government ?
Aiyoo Friday, 22 May 2015 11:20 AM
Yahapalanaya is screwing up left right and centre
Azad Friday, 22 May 2015 06:07 PM
Srinivasan is another corrupt character, he is not at all clean. Why is that all crooks gets chances at the top and not those who have a very good knowledge of the game and is a good administrator ?
ranil Friday, 22 May 2015 12:01 PM
Like farther like son. Father Destroyed the agriculture in SL from Mahaweli but became so rich from commissions and the son destroyes SL cricket
malij Friday, 22 May 2015 12:06 PM
ICC had been acting like a dictator since India, Australia and England hijacked the control. Since then, the other full members of the ICC never had any voice in any matter. ICC is controlled by crooked businessmen, people who are having connections with the bookies and thugs like Sirinivasan who want to keep their agents in SL (and other countries) in power. Can you expect anything better from them?
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