Lankan lawyer challenges ICC on origin of UDRS

By Sa’adi Thawfeeq

A cricket loving Sri Lankan lawyer is challenging the International Cricket Council (ICC) to prove the authorship of the Umpires Decision Referral System (UDRS) and is prepared to take legal steps to show that he is the rightful author.

Senaka Weeraratne has for the past one year through Sri Lanka Cricket tried to establish with the ICC that the umpires review rule was originally his idea. He claims that it was first mooted by him in 1997 and that he has enough evidence on the subject published around the world to stake a claim as the rightful author.
The file containing Weeraratne’s claims was handed to the ICC’s Head of Legal David Becker in March this year by Sri Lanka Cricket and after two months Becker’s response was to reject the assertions that ICC must recognize Weeraratne’s claims in law as the innovator of the Umpires Referral Rule.

In an email to Weeraratne, Becker states: “Firstly, you do not specify anywhere in your correspondence the basis of your claim in law. Secondly, even if you were to establish an intellectual property right in the concept of a decision review system for umpires (which for the avoidance of doubt are denied), you would need to show that ICC took your idea without your consent and used it. Finally, the idea of using a video referral system for decisions in sport goes back well beyond 1997, as is evidenced from Simon Gardiner’s article in Sport and the Law Journal “Video Adjudication in Sport” [1999] 7(1) SATLJ 26.”

Weeraratne responding to Becker says the key drawback in this case is that Becker is unable to identify any particular individual as the author of the umpire referral mechanism. He is saying that, “It was the ICC Cricket Committee who first developed the idea of the review system for ICC, and I can assure you that the members thereof did not at any time during their deliberations have any regard to information which came from you. With respect, they were not, and are not, even aware of whom you are”.

“This particular statement that ICC Cricket Committee first developed the idea of the review system for ICC, is contradicted by the statement of his own ICC Manager David Richardson who when interviewed in Colombo on the occasion of the inaugural Test Match that first used this system on a trial basis (Sri Lanka v India in August, 2008) said that the concept of the umpire review being applied in cricket was borrowed from American football and tennis. I have got newspaper cuttings (August 2008) carrying the statement of David Richardson. When I responded to it by showing that tennis acquired the review system in 2006 whereas I came out with this idea in 1997, ICC fell silent on attributing the origins to tennis. Now they are singing a different tune. Duncan Fletcher, the former England coach also claimed it was his idea in his book ‘Ashes Regained’, but since has been rather silent on this issue.

Weeraratne further states: “The London Times, Weekend Australian, International Cricketer Magazine, The Sunday Age (Melbourne), Time Magazine, Pakistan ‘Dawn’, all Sri Lankan newspapers etc. are esteemed publications that circulate among members of the international cricket fraternity. All these publications carried my writings on this subject. My position is that the ICC Committee members got this idea after the publication of my thoughts in these international publications. Unless the ICC is able to refer to a publication carrying this concept before 1997, then I am quite entitled to press my claim of authorship.”

Weeraratne states that he had never claimed authorship of a video referral system as referred to by Becker. To Becker’s comments “with the development of more accurate technology over the years, it is not difficult to see how it would be a natural development in the thinking of the most respected minds within the game of cricket to develop such an idea for umpiring decisions and progress it to the point where it now stands,”

Weeraratne responded saying: “The argument put forward by David Becker and his backers at the ICC, that somehow in the course of natural development of thinking someone would have anyway come up with the mechanism that is now in play in the game is no argument to deny credit to the originator of the idea. Albert Einstein is honoured for the theory of relativity because he was the first to formulate it. It is no argument to deny credit to Einstein by saying that someone anyhow later on in time would have discovered the theory of relativity.
“Until we improve our performance in the Board Rooms of the ICC, taking a cue from the world class performance of Sri Lanka’s national cricketers in the international playing fields, our cries for justice and fair play on matters of this nature will continue to be treated with indifference and contempt by the lords of the international cricket establishment,” Weeraratne said.

“The ICC is an interested party using someone else’s idea in an enterprise that brings them huge financial returns,” Weeraratne said. “The ICC is not a truth commission or a court of law. It is not objective or impartial. It has a vested interest in the subject matter. I had to first present my claims to ICC because that is the requirement of the law i.e. exhaust local remedies. Now that they have declined to give credit to me which is not surprising given their vested interest in it, I am now free to canvas other legal options.”

“Equity is on my side and the novelty of the proposition of my concept attracted worldwide attention. The ICC has not looked at my moral claim. The situation has come to a point that I am seeking intervention of a neutral third party to look at this dispute and come to a determination. I don’t accept the position of the ICC,” he said.


Samaposha nourishes U-13 schools’ soccer

By Dayawansa Withanachchi
Ceylon Biscuits Limited (CBL)’s nutrition cereal brand Samaposha revealed that it would sponsor the upcoming U-13Girls’ and Boys’ schools’ football tournament, at a cost of Rs. 3.5 million, which will be conducted by the Football Federation of Sri Lanka.
Nandana Wickramage, the Group Director and Head of Marketing & Sales, CBL, at a press conference held at the Football House, Colombo said: “Our Company is always prepared to assist school children in any kind of sport and we have done so in cricket, soccer, squash and volleyball. We believe our brand ideally matches the high energy and fitness requirements of football and our commitment and focus is on the betterment of standards of all sports in Sri Lanka.
“This is the second consecutive year that Samaposha sponsors this tournament. Around 430 boys’ schools and 106 girls’ schools island-wide will participate at school level and then at district level. The finals will be held in Badulla in July and would see 20 boys’ schools and 16 girls’ schools competing,” he said.
He also mentioned that these days the FIFA World Cup matches will receive high coverage on TV and the print media.
And with football fever at a high peak and great enthusiasm shown in the sport, it was fortunate for the schools tournament to be conducted at this time.
Anura de Silva, Deputy CEO, FFSL and FFSL officials also addressed the media.


DSI Super Sports Volleyball Championships

St Bernadette’s u-14 boys’ and girls’ champs

St. Bernadette’s Maha Vidyalaya, Polgahawela came to the limelight when they emerged boys’ and girls’ under 14 champions at the district tournament of the DSI Super Sports Volleyball championships worked off at the Welagedera Stadium, Kurunegala.

Bernadette junior spikers beat Nikaweratiya Mahasen MV in the boys’ under 14 final and in the girls’ under 14 final they defeated Ibbagamuwa Model School to clinch the two titles.
Ibbagamuwa Model School won the girls’ under 16 and girls’ under 18 titles when they defeated Bernadette’s MV Polgahawela teams in both finals. Panduwasnuwara MMV and Hiripokuna MMV clinched the boys’ under 18 and boys’ under 16 finals defeating St Bernadette’s MV and Mahasen MMV respectively.

DSI Super Sports volleyball tournament is conducted by the Sri Lanka Volleyball Association and has attracted more than 6000 teams from all over the island including North and Eastern Provinces. This is a good opportunity for the rural area players to come forward and perform at national level. This tournament is conducted at district level, provincial and later national level to popularise the sport in a big way. - (DR)


Can CR stall Kandy?

By Hafiz Marikar
Where others have failed this season can CR & FC succeed at Nittawela? As much as CR would desire to become the first team to conquer champion Kandy Sports Club this season at their home den, The champions will want to preserve their record at Nittawela which means so much to them. Kandy SC is sparing no pain or effort to win this one. They have been through a kind of training that would not be out of place in the last game of the first round Caltex league tournament, and the excitement is just the same.
So, today Sunday the unbeaten CR & FC XV will lock horns with the mighty Kandy SC, the kick-off is set for 4.30 pm at the Nittawela grounds.

For Kandy SC the result of this game is of utmost importance and they can be expected to mark every effort to win this one and score as many points. A win would keep alive their hopes of the League title, and also to climb back to the top of the table.
So, the stage is set for another enthralling confrontation, So, today, Kandy SC will be without their skipper Fazil Marija, who is still nursing his Singapore injury. In place of him Sean Wijesinghe will lead the side against Dushan Lewke’s Red Shirts. Dushan will go all out to gain a decision in their favour as they are hoping to keep their place at the top of the table.

Champion Kandy SC, a talented side thought they went down to the Sailors by a single point in Welisara, has stamped their class as the best team in the current league competition. Kandy’s coach Yohan Taylor, a master planner of the game will be fielding their best outfit. So, look out for a bustling game. Kandy’s asset is their mobile pack which is about the best, with a fantastic third row. And the rest of the forwards are solid with die-hard players. In this game, they will be expecting a god job from their speedy outsides.
CR & FC who are under the watchfull eyes of Bilal Yusuf, Viraj Prasantha and Grant Dwyer, are hoping to play the best side, and they boast of forwards second to none in the current season.

Kandy SC (from): Kishore Jehan, Achala Perera/Anuranga Walpola, Erande Swaranatillake, Senaka Bandara, Buddhika Thalagampola, Dilip Selvam, Sajith Saranga, Sean Wijesinghe (Capt), Roshan Weeraratne, Saliya Kumara, Pradeep Liyanage, Gayan Weeraratne, Sanjeewa Jayasinghe, Mohamed Sheriff, Radhika Hettiarachi, Mohamed Jabar, Dharshan Etipola, Prasad Chaturanga.
Henry Terrence, Anuja Perera, Shehan Dimitri, Ishan Noor, Zafeer Jhan, Danushka Perera, Ashen Karthelis, Dushan Lewke (Capt), Zulki Hamid, Nigel Ratwatte, Vishwamithra Jayasinghe, Nuwan Chamara, Shabir Mohamed, Ashan de Costa , Reza Mubarak, Srinath Sooriyabandara.


AMCHAM Bowling tomorrow

The first American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) Bowling tournament will be held at The Strikes Bowling Centre, Excel World Entertainment Park on June 14 (Monday) at 5.30pm.


Double Blue Cricket Carnival on June 20

The annual Double Blue Cricket Carnival orgnised by the Old Wesleyites’ Sports Club (OWSC) will be held at Campbell Park on June 20 (Sunday) from 8.00am onwards.
Following this tremendous success of the first-ever OWSC Double Blue Cricket Carnival in 2009, which had a tremendous participation the organisers have planned to make this an annual event. The main theme revolves around an inter- batch six-a side Cricket tournament with three trophies to be won.

This event which is organised particularly for the past pupils of Wesley College also is a gathering for the families and friends to enjoy the spirit of Wesley and relive the fond memories of their school days. The organisers have also made arrangements for entertainment for the whole family with special focus on kids, with bouncers; joyrides etc to keep them occupied and make it a family carnival. For further details please contact Dilshan Hossen on 077-3403574.


St. Benedict’s OBU AGM

St Benedict’s College, Kotahena will hold their 106th Annual General Meeting on June 20 at the College Hall at 10.30 am.
The AGM will be preceded by Holy Mass at 9.30 am. The fellowship lunch will be held soon after the AGM at the OBSC premises.
For lunch tickets the following should be contacted: Ravi Irugalbandara (2683311/0714272444), Darrel Ludowyke (0777414567), Anton Leon (0714 805287), Chandra Bastian (0775984580) or T. Valentine (0777556252).


St. Benedict’s OBU AGM

St Benedict’s College, Kotahena will hold their 106th Annual General Meeting on June 20 at the College Hall at 10.30 am.
The AGM will be preceded by Holy Mass at 9.30 am. The fellowship lunch will be held soon after the AGM at the OBSC premises.
For lunch tickets the following should be contacted: Ravi Irugalbandara (2683311/0714272444), Darrel Ludowyke (0777414567), Anton Leon (0714 805287), Chandra Bastian (0775984580) or T. Valentine (0777556252).