Sri Lanka: No to gamblers in sports administration


Sports Minister Harin Fernando (Sri Lanka Government Official News Portal)

Sports Minister Harin Fernando (Sri Lanka Government Official News Portal)

Colombo: Sri Lanka is to amend rules and regulations in the Sports Law in order to ban anyone linked to betting from holding any portfolio in cricket administration.

“We are going to put out a gazette notification to make amendments to some rules and regulations concerning sports in Sri Lanka,” Sports Minister Harin Fernando said.

“The ICC has clearly mentioned that whoever is linked to betting is disqualified from holding any portfolio in cricket administration. We have issued a gazette notification to prevent such activities in accordance with our law. If a family member is involved in betting, that person cannot hold any administrative position in sports,” the minister said, quoted by the Government Official News Portal.

Fernando told a media conference that he had learned that “certain officials behaved in a very mean and ugly manner by using filthy words to rebuke each other at the Executive Committee meeting of Sri Lanka Cricket.”

“They have even scoffed me in a very bad manner. I don’t take these insults seriously because I know that I am doing the right thing,” he said.

The sports ministry will have to take action with regard to the comments made at the Sri Lanka Cricket Executive Committee meeting, he added.

“We will investigate why the officials at that meeting have derided the minister, the ministry secretary and also see if decisions taken at the meeting were under duress of one individual,” the minister said.

Fernando dismissed claims that the gazette notification targeted to curtail the activities of Thilanga Sumathipala, a former president of SLC who had been accused of being involved in the betting industry, stressing that he held no personal grudges against anyone.

“We have inquired from the ICC if Thilanga Sumathipala can hold any portfolio at ICC and they have said that he cannot. If he cannot hold any position in the ICC, he cannot hold any position in Sri Lanka Cricket either,” Fernando said, adding that as the Minister of Sports, he had the full authority to interfere in the affairs of Sri Lanka Cricket.

According to the minister, some private organizations are heavily involved in decision-making in Sri Lanka Cricket and there is a huge crisis in telecasting cricket matches.

“I met the ICC president Shashank Manohar in Nagpur and discussed this in detail. Then I appointed a committee. The contracts of some employees and officials attached to Sri Lanka Cricket were not extended. If Sri Lanka Cricket functions as a private organization, I must interfere to stop it. I get a lot of complaints regarding this,” he said.

The minister said that a constitution for cricket had been submitted to parliament.

“I get a lot of threats when I do all this. But I am going ahead with them successfully.”

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