point - blank :SLC needs a bill like the 19th amendment

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What Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) requires today is something similar to the 19th Amendment to put all its ills right.

The passing of the 19th Amendment draft bill in parliament last Tuesday brought great relief to the people of Sri Lanka for it allowed them the freedom to become free citizens instead of living under a cloud of uncertainty and threat throughout their lives. Many past presidents of the country has promised to change the executive powers a president enjoyed in this country but failed to fulfill their promises until the arrival of the present President Maithiripala Sirisena, whose name will go down in the history books as the man who transferred the power of the President to the Parliament where he is answerable for all his actions.

Sri Lanka Cricket also needs something on those lines if it is to prosper and past cricketers are to come forward and contribute to the game. That former captain and a respectable one at that Mahela Jayawardene has shown his willingness to come forward and help our domestic cricket structure is because he knows he is dealing with genuine, quality people who will listen to him and have the game top most in their minds. He will certainly not associate himself and tarnish his good name with people with shady backgrounds and hidden agendas.

How often has interim committees comprising men of integrity and with cricket at heart been appointed to put right the wrongs committed by elected bodies. Some of them have done something which is productive and valuable, only for all the good work to be undone once elections are held and all the bad eggs make a comeback. Every time an elected body has come in it has created unprecedented issues and interim committees have been appointed to arrest the situation. How long can this go on?

This has been the pattern of Sri Lanka Cricket administration over the years and it will continue to carry on after the current interim committee is disbanded at some point of time unless certain amendments and new rules are brought into the constitution to prevent such things from happening in the future.

The interim committee under Sidath Wettimuny is determined to ensure such changes are made to the constitution before they bow out and that cricket will be in good governance in the future regardless of whoever is elected to the high positions. For such a change to take place the interim committee requires the support of its member clubs, associations, districts and provinces. A meeting of the membership with the interim committee has been fixed for May 7 to apprise them of the current situation.

Initially there will certainly be opposition towards such a move as interested parties who enjoy the privileges of the current constitution would not want them withdrawn or replaced. They will certainly try to discourage the membership from voting for such a change. However if the membership wants the game to be protected and for it to prosper they should all vote for a change like the majority of political parties did for the 19th Amendment – a change for the betterment of cricket not of any individual which has been the case over the years. They should understand that cricket is the only sport that carries the Sri Lankan flag right round the world.
The most interesting aspect and an amusing statistic is that Sri Lanka has a population of 25million but its cricket body - Sri Lanka Cricket has a vote base of over 100 members whereas a country like India whose population is 1.2 billion, their cricket board - the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has a vote base of only 30. Even countries like England (ECB) (population 53.5million – membership 41) and Australia (CA) (population 24million – membership 6) have less member vote base and their administrations are run systematically and free of cricket politics.

With Sri Lanka under a new government the time is opportune to make a change. It is the responsibility of the Minister of Tourism and Sport Navin Dissanayake to affect the changes either through the Sports Law or to encourage SLC to make the necessary changes to their constitution. This game of chess has been going on for too long.

The Minister’s father the late Gamini Dissanayake worked very hard for the country to establish Test status; the Minister could follow in his father’s footsteps and make changes to the cricket constitution to protect it from being abused. It could be the best thing that can happen to safeguard his father’s interests.

The Nation learns that the Minister is planning to appoint an independent commission to investigate into the previous regime and its malpractices – a move which could convince the membership and help speed for the change of the SLC constitution. It would also convince the ICC the need for an interim committee today to administer cricket in the country.

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