By Harsha Amarasinghe
CH and FC are facing the prospects of a three-year ban as Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) have opted to play hardball with the Maitland Crescent Club.
Rizly Illyas the Tournament Director of the upcoming Dialog Inter-Club League Rugby competition introduced a new foreign player policy which provides an opportunity for the teams that finished in the bottom-half to field a foreign player each. It left the top four teams in a scenario where they have to cope with the local players. This proposal was indeed passed on Wednesday during a council meeting after which the CH and FC made comments criticising the foreign player policy.
In response to that the SLR have taken stern disciplinary action over CH and FC following their comments.
"If there is a problem with what we do, they should speak to us and sort it out. I mean there is a certain procedure, but CH and FC have certainly violated the constitution which is sending out a bad message to all rugby lovers in this country. It is due to this reason that we have opted to take disciplinary action over them and they will face a three-year ban," Rizly Illyas, Vice President, SLR told the Daily Mirror.
CH and FC also revealed on Wednesday that they are planning to send their team to overseas tournaments, but Illyas stated no team in Sri Lanka is allowed to take part in overseas tournaments without their permission.
"It (sending the team out of Sri Lanka to take part in overseas tournaments) would be a direct violation of the constitution. Any team in this country must have the permission of the parent body to participate in a foreign tournament. So they could face further punishment," added Illyas.
CH and FC on Wednesday made it clear that they are unhappy with the new system.
"This is a ridiculous idea and a very unfair one. If you are going to allow clubs to have foreign players then it has to be all the clubs; not just four. We are hugely disappointed and shall not hesitate to withdraw from the tournament.
"If SLR really want to develop this country's rugby, they must work on the Division B and Division C rugby as well. I don't really know how this method is going to help Sri Lanka rugby. CH and FC have invested a lot on rugby but we need a fair system. Either make it possible (to have foreign players) for all clubs or none for any club," a club spokesman said in an interview with the Daily Mirror on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the reigning champions and Sri Lanka rugby giants, Kandy Sports Club stated that they will protest the new method although they have no plan of withdrawing themselves from the tournament.
"We have already submitted a letter to Sri Lanka Rugby on this new policy about foreign players and I hope they will change certain areas of this proposal," Lasantha Wijesuriya, Chairman of Rugby, Kandy Sports Club said on Thursday during an interview with the Daily Mirror.