Incumbent President of Sri Lanka Cricket Upali Dharmadasa in a press release today said that Thilanga Sumathipala cannot represent Sri Lanka Cricket at any ICC event.
The Press release is in response to the publicised letter of approval of Mr. Sumathipala’s candidacy by the President of the International Cricket Council.
Following is the Press release issued on behalf of Mr. Upali Dharmadasa
Due to the recent media reports carrying contradictory information as regards the position taken by the ICC on the nomination tendered by Hon. Thilanga Sumathipala MP for the post of President of Sri Lanka Cricket, we issue this statement of facts communicated to Sri Lanka Cricket by Mr. Alan Isaac, President of the ICC on being informed of Hon. Thilanga Sumathipala’s nomination.
Mr. Isaac, by letter dated 5th March 2013 has inter alia, informed Sri Lanka cricket that;
During the years 2003 to 2005 the investigations carried out by the ICC Anti Corruption Surveillance Unit and the ICC Ethics Officer found that there was evidence that Mr. Sumathipala was in breach of the ICC Code of Ethics primarily through his relationship with the Sporting Star bookmaking business in Sri Lanka. Although Mr. Sumathipala had denied that he was in breach of the ICC Code of Ethics previous statements given by him under oath appeared to contradict the denial. In order to give Mr. Sumathipala a full hearing Mr. Goolam Vahanvati, renowned Indian Judge and Member of the ICC’s Code of Conduct Commission was appointed to inquire into this matter.
Before that hearing could be convened, Sri Lanka Cricket removed Mr Sumathipala as its nominee director to the ICC Board. In the circumstances, Mr. Sumathipala claimed that, since he was no longer a director, it was no longer appropriate that the hearing into his alleged breaches of the Code of Ethics should continue. Accordingly, no hearing was ever convened in this respect and no formal decision issued.
Instead, in June 2005, the ICC Board resolved: ‘that if Mr Sumathipala was ever nominated by SLC as its representative on the Board again, he would not be entitled to take up that position until the hearing process took place and a decision was finally made as to whether or not he had committed a breach of the Code of Ethics.’. In the circumstances, although Mr. Sumathipala is not currently prohibited from standing in the SLC elections by the ICC, the above ICC Board resolution is still valid and if Mr. Sumathipala is nominated by SLC as its representative to the Board of Directors of the ICC such nomination cannot take effect until the inquiry into the alleged breaches of the Code of Ethics of the ICC by Mr. Sumathipala is concluded. Therefore Mr. Sumathipala, if elected, cannot represent Sri Lanka at the ICC.
The ICC has also informed SLC that where appropriate, the Ethics Officer of the ICC can ‘conduct an investigation, hold a hearing and also recommend sanctions (including but not limited to a recommendation to remove a director under Article 4.11(f) of the ICC Memorandum and Articles) to the ICC Executive Board for its ultimate determination.’.
The above speaks for itself and is vastly different in tenor to the interpretation sought to be given to the ICC communiqué in recent press reports by various interested parties.
The seriousness of this issue is that the election of a person, whose conduct and ethical standards are in question by the ICC would have a very negative effect on the image of Sri Lanka, its people, the governance of the game of cricket and the SLC. This press release has been issued by Mr. Upali Dharmadasa in his capacity as the serving President of SLC and the SLC representative on the ICC Board of Directors; which makes it his responsibility to correct any misinformation being circulated in the public domain.