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SLC knocks out highest bidder for local TV deal

6 June 2015 02:57 am - 47     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) interim committee which is reeling under one mighty financial blow they received on Wednesday when they learnt that the bid for the forthcoming three test matches against India could only bring them US $ 1.4 million, have committed further financial hara-kiri by opting to offer their local TV rights for the next three years to the state owned Sri Lanka Rupavahini (SLRC) at a rate of at least Rs. 35 million below the figure quoted by top bidder Carlton Sports Network (CSN).

An SLC interim committee member revealed that Rupavahini who made an official bid of Rs. 110 million has agreed to increase their offer to Rs. 130 million, a figure which is still a staggering Rs. 35 million (more than 21 percent) less than the figure of Rs. 165 million offered by CSN.

Interestingly, all these squabbling over alleged three wrong points in the document provided by CSN had come to a halt last morning when CSN issued SLC a written assurance and agreed to pay the total of Rs. 165 million upfront, but SLC Interim Committee chairman Sidath Wettimuny said that assurance was too late as they had taken the decision to award the rights to Rupavahini on the previous night.

A financial expert expressed surprise at that excuse, saying it was unbelievable that SLC couldn’t communicate the development immediately to the interim committee members and taken a decision that was worth Rs. 35 million.

“We sat in the evening and made the decision. There is a limit. They delayed it by a week. The bank guarantee did not come at the deadline we gave them. That’s the bottom line” said SLC Interim Committee chairman Sidath Wettimuny.

Both Sports Minister Navin Dissanayake and Wettimuny insisted that their decision to kick away the higher bid was over technical issues in a Bank Guarantee they asked from CSN.  

“Bank guarantee has to carry the words “unconditional” and “irrevocable”. Those conditions were not there in the bank guarantee (CSN provided). So we couldn’t accept that bank guarantee” Minister Dissanayake told “Daily Mirror”.

“We basically looked at financial capabilities, and looked at the long term situation. Committee came to the conclusion (that) safer option is to go with Rupavahini” said Wettimuny.

Asked what was wrong with the finances of CSN as the committee felt, Wettimuny refused to go into details. “I don’t think it is fair me to talk about the details, I wouldn’t be fair by CSN. We have looked at financial situations, as per the information given to us. We extended the period and asked them for a bank guarantee. We didn’t receive it when we should” said Wettimuny.

Wettimuny however revealed that they did not bother to ask for a similar bank guarantee from Rupavahini. “No Rupavahini didn’t give a bank guarantee. It is government owned. We feel we don’t need to worry about state television station” said Wettimuny, himself one of the leading businessmen of the country.

Asked why they didn’t have the same confidence about CSN who had been faithful partners of SLC for the past three years and whether CSN had defaulted due payments in the past, Wetimmuny’s answer was rather vague.

“No. They haven’t defaulted payments. But looking at what we have in hand, we made the decision. We had to look at every aspect and come to that conclusion” said Wettimuny.

“They sent us a draft (of Bank Guarantee) which had three errors. We corrected them and sent but they never sent it back to us. Even they had got SLC name wrong. They have called it an incorporated company. SLC is an association” added Wettimuny.

“We have written to them on the 27th. We gave them plenty of time. We have gone through the due process. We wanted to be fair” assured Wettimuny.

But CSN’s Director of Sports Gihan Samaranayake revealed that there’s more to Wettimuny’s description of events.

“It is a lie to say that they asked for a bank guarantee on 27th. That day, they only asked us if we could provide a bank guarantee for a hundred percent of our bid. Then after consulting our bank, we informed them we can.

Then on Sunday evening, they suddenly informed us that they needed a specimen of the bank guarantee on the following day. When we asked the bank, bank asked us to get a document called letter of intent from SLC in order to issue a bank guarantee. But SLC completely ignored it” said Samaranayake.

Asked about this, Wettimuny said they were not obliged to issue letters like that.

“I can’t comment on that at the moment. We don’t need to ask them for anything. We asked them for a bank guarantee, unconditional bank guarantee. It didn’t come” said Wettimuny.

“As they did not issue the letter of intent, we told them that we would get the required specimen of the guarantee on Wednseday as Tuesday was poya day and we gave them the specimen issued by the bank on Wednesday” said Samaranayake.

Interestingly, the specimen CSN had been issued by Bank of Ceylon, SLC’s main banking partner who is recently reported to have issued a further overdraft of Rs. 450 million to the cash strapped institution.

CSN sources said that the company management would discuss the issue on an urgent basis and said that there was a possibility of seeking legal redress against SLC who would face the possibility of spending a few more million Rupees in legal fees not to mention the damages they would have to pay in case CSN winning the case.

Samaranayake also added that the word “unconditional” had specifically been mentioned in the specimen they provided while a top bank official from Bank of Ceylon told “Daily Mirror” that the word could mean little as bank guarantees are always unconditional. (Channaka de Silva)

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  Comments - 47

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  • malik1958 Saturday, 06 June 2015 03:05 PM

    i like to find out how much they have paid last time and to who they paid it and where is this money now?

    Srinath gunaratne Saturday, 06 June 2015 12:24 PM

    Sidath,Thought you were a gentleman with some integrity! What are you doing with these politicians?

    sanjeewa Saturday, 06 June 2015 12:38 PM

    This is peanut when considering the amount of money spend to build a ground which is not required at all.

    Navin Saturday, 06 June 2015 12:38 PM

    looks like yahapalanaya will politicize the last remaining independent sports body

    sha Saturday, 06 June 2015 01:00 PM

    Now it seems wettimuny is also no different to the regular SLC crooks. They all wait for their opportunity to grab what ever comes their way. They always have excuses in abundance. What a pity state of affairs. ... via DM Android App

    Progress Watch Saturday, 06 June 2015 12:58 PM

    And the vengeance goes on even at the costly loss of 35 million.

    Palle Saturday, 06 June 2015 01:26 PM

    Every thing is in a hell of a mess, yet the minister talk big.

    Manel Saturday, 06 June 2015 01:32 PM

    For some oafs when political crooks and families were robbing the country and poor people that is OK. When Govt. tries to recover at least part of what was lost, that is VENENGANCE. What shit logic is this?

    TONY Saturday, 06 June 2015 01:36 PM


    Neomal Saturday, 06 June 2015 01:40 PM

    According to second news item on this CSN has failed to furnish bank guarantees as requested by SLC. So SLC has done the correct thing by engaging Rupavahini. Given the track record of CSN owners, of not paying the Air Force and CTB and countless other government organisations for the services obtained for private matters, SLC has acted wisely and with foresight.

    Lanka Shantha Saturday, 06 June 2015 01:51 PM

    Who operates the CSN?Where they got money to start such a big company?Do they pay taxes?Do they have their own gadgets to run the business?

    Sri Wickrama Saturday, 06 June 2015 02:45 PM

    CSN telecasting is not up to the expected stand specially in remote areas in the island. This is a wise decision so that cricket lovers can watch these matches without any disruption.

    Hiran Gunawardena Saturday, 06 June 2015 12:10 PM

    Just to put this in simple financial terms SLRC money is peoples tax money. Therefore any bid by SLRC is a total waste of hard earned peoples tax money. So in simple terms this rs 110million could have been used somewhere else by giving bidding away to a private channel . In effect SLC throughout Rs 165millions plus 110 MILLION (TAX MONEY) for cricket entertainment. Can anyone in this country see any desperation to watch test cricket on SLRC at the expense of RS. 275 million(110 165)??????????????

    Linusf Saturday, 06 June 2015 03:34 PM

    Well Done, Sidath and interim committee you did the right thing.

    Bala Saturday, 06 June 2015 03:36 PM

    Yes theyeven agreed to pay Rs.165million outright instead of the Bank Gntee..

    Bala Saturday, 06 June 2015 03:39 PM

    Yes they can do so now becos Yahapalanaya. Earlier if you filed a case you will not get a decision in your favour.

    Bala Saturday, 06 June 2015 03:42 PM

    Yes you can file action and hope for decision becos of yahapalanaya. Earlier MR will tell judges what to do - they did this in Gotas FR case and got interim order virtually a permanent injunction for 6 months.

    wyf Sunday, 07 June 2015 03:41 AM

    Something fishy going on?

    J R Rajasinhhe Monday, 08 June 2015 07:49 AM

    Sad to see so many naive comments. The loss is for Sri Lanka cricket and the sport. All this because of a rumor the company has some connection to MR family. If there was a connection FCID who were in and out of the place would have sealed the place for money laundering. Let private sector be operate with out oppression as they generate employment for our people. We must remember MR lost because people were made to believe they were corrupt the hilt and MS and RW had evidence for same. Of course they have been lying as now only they are looking for evidence.

    Deshan Monday, 08 June 2015 08:31 AM

    I am working at a Bank...Bank Guarantees are always unconditional and irrevocable....why people are lying like this??????

    polished Monday, 08 June 2015 08:31 AM

    Put Sarath Fonseka in charge of Bribery comm: he will fix the rajapakses up

    Man Monday, 08 June 2015 08:38 AM

    Only best option left is to ask CSN to pay the full amount before the test series for the benefit of cricket if they had paid the new government imposed tax.

    garawi Monday, 08 June 2015 06:31 PM

    You think it should be given to Carlton who built the empire with the stolen money from the poor and the state coffer?

    Harsha Friday, 12 June 2015 11:11 PM

    I really want to see CSN suing SL Cricket for damages. This should start in Srilanka for better governance and Srilankna Cricket loosing 35ml.

    Domiya Saturday, 06 June 2015 10:40 AM

    Thank God, We can now watch the full 6 balls of an over and not 5 balls followed by about 10 advertisements. Watching that New Zealand series on CSN in December was so annoying because we were forced to watch all these MR political stooges such as (BnS and a whole lot of unknown small time actors and actresses) sucking up to MR probably for a whole chunk of money. Great move SLC. Keep it up.

    Cedric Saturday, 06 June 2015 09:16 AM

    Who is this Rajapakse boot licking writer who is trying to justify the CSN bid when they stopped all others

    Channa Saturday, 06 June 2015 09:22 AM

    Another dirty work by Yahapalanaya. Looks like Naveen wants to join with Ravi. Anyway it is good still he has not robbed like Ravi.

    Hora Saturday, 06 June 2015 09:31 AM

    This is only preliminary one. Asked FCID to investigate this too

    packeer Saturday, 06 June 2015 09:39 AM

    Rupavahini is a channel belongs to people of SL. CSN is a private channel. This is the plain truth behind this.

    dean Saturday, 06 June 2015 09:41 AM

    great move by SLC .in bussiness you must have heart also to give the honest judgment.finally we have sensible people.

    DHA Saturday, 06 June 2015 10:06 AM

    This is what happens when you appoint jokers for higher posts.....Pls work for the benefit of SLC and our cricketers and not for the benefit of politicians they can earn money some other place.....

    Giabao Saturday, 06 June 2015 10:16 AM

    I am just curious to know, has CSN paid much hyped about 1 bn levy imposed on them ??

    Nihal Amarasekera Saturday, 06 June 2015 10:20 AM

    What bank guarantees? CSN could buy a lot outright, what with the amount of money "earned" during their "free for all (in the family)" reign.

    Manel Saturday, 06 June 2015 10:36 AM

    CSN is a family owned channel and Rupavahini belonges to people of SL. This is a very very patriotic move. Besids some oafs have forgitton that CSN got rights to match telecasting continuously without giving chance to other chnnels under certain regiem.

    Mhaweli Hora Saturday, 06 June 2015 10:37 AM

    What procurement men ? It is my order

    Nuwan Saturday, 06 June 2015 10:39 AM

    MARA and family should not be allowed to have.their own way all the time in telecasting sports events.

    Ru Saturday, 06 June 2015 09:15 AM

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhh Yaya Palanaya is bleaming in my arr***

    Bala Saturday, 06 June 2015 10:48 AM

    It is an absolute lie that ALL bank Guarantees are unconditional. There are many restrictions - the easiet to check is expiry date - is that alone not conditional. I have 30 years experience on BGs so I know how banks avoid final liability. Anyway Rupavahini has clear islandwidecoverage while CSN even in Colombo can be unclear picture.

    moda Saturday, 06 June 2015 10:49 AM

    I salute your comments

    Waco Saturday, 06 June 2015 11:00 AM

    It is a wise decision.

    Gemi Saturday, 06 June 2015 11:05 AM

    Well done SLC. You knocked out that channel owned by a greedy family to give benefits to state owned channel. Even in tenders highest bidder does not always get the contracts. It is the most suitable allround bidder who should get it. This is YAHAPALANAYA.

    Sikuru Saturday, 06 June 2015 11:12 AM

    This is the work of yahapalanaya no more service for the MARA family that crushed all competition

    Mason Saturday, 06 June 2015 11:21 AM

    The Minister and the Interim Committee are not concerned about the finances of the SLC. They only want to keep their Masters happy. So, out goes CSN which belongs to the Rajapakse kids.This does not augur well for the future of Cricket in Sri Lanka.

    Nanda Saturday, 06 June 2015 11:26 AM

    Still political influence exists in tender board decisions !

    Premalal Saturday, 06 June 2015 11:47 AM

    "Unconditional" and "Irrevocable" have just become the most valuable words in the English language. They are each worth 17.5 million Rupees.

    meththa Saturday, 06 June 2015 11:47 AM

    Another Screw-up. Weththamuni should be blamed. Will Naveen go to FCID or CID ?

    Premalal Saturday, 06 June 2015 11:52 AM

    I am surprised at Wettimuny. I thought he had the balls to stand up to pressure. The less spoken about the minister is better knowing his political history.

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