Sri Lanka Cricket election has been postponed indefinitely by the Ministry of Sports until a discrepancy in a gazette notification which empowers the Sports Minister to appoint a three-member Advisory Board to hear polls-related appeals to be sorted out.
The election of office bearers is scheduled for February 7, just two days before the ICC deadline. But it hs been put off briefly due to this legal impediment caused by a translation error in the newly formulated regulations. The English version of the extraordinary gazette dated September 22, 2018, states that the three-member Advisory Board should be headed by a “retired Judge of the Supreme Court or Appeal Court”. The Sinhala version has omitted the word “retired”.
“In the event of a discrepancy, the Sinhala version shall prevail,” said a legal expert. “But the Sports Minister has no power to appoint a sitting judge, so we will have to amend the regulations and gazette it again.” While this seems simple enough, the process needs at least two to three weeks, the source said.
Sports Ministry said once the this discrepancy is corrected they would conduct the election.
Sports Minister Harin Fernando last week promised Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) membership to restore democracy by holding the election, a major shift from his earlier stance of first going for an interim administration to “clean up the corrupted body”.
This was due to the Minister failing to get the support of the International Cricket Council (ICC) for his proposal. The world body had set a February 9 deadline for the election or warned SLC to face the consequences.
SLC was under a Competent Authority since May 31, 2018, after the Court of Appeal suspended the election of office bearers that had been scheduled for that date on grounds that SLC had flouted election protocols.
Minister Fernando had earlier suggested a postponement of the election in favour of an interim administration which would then have been tasked with overhauling the SLC constitution, elements of which have long been considered detrimental to the governance of the game.
While he traveled to Dubai in the hope of meeting ICC chief Shashank Manohar, a discussion never took place. He only met the ICC’s Anti-Corruption head Alex Marshall. After this failed attempt, the Minister on Friday met members of the controlling clubs and promised to conduct the election expeditiously.