Point-blank : Sports Minister clears the air with ICC

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The recent meeting between Sri Lanka and the International Cricket Council (ICC) in Dubai has helped to clear the air and ensure that cricket in this country is not under any threat of suspension or financial disaster.

Navin Dissanayake whilst visiting the Arabian Travel Mart in Dubai as the Minister of Tourism and Sports took the opportunity to meet with officials of the ICC.

Along with the Minister were interim committee chairman Sidath Wettimuny, secretary Prakash Schaffter and member Nuski Mohamed who met the ICC CEO David Richardson and ICC legal counsel Iain Higgins.

A media release from the Ministry yesterday stated: “The discussions centred on the current concerns of the ICC with regard to the appointment of the interim committee and the Minister clarified his position in this regard. The discussions were most cordial and constructive, held in an atmosphere of mutual respect. Some headway had been made with regard to resolving the concerns of the ICC and the Minister and the officials of the SLC interim committee are confident that the concerns of the ICC vis-à-vis SLC will be fully resolved in the very near future. SLC remains and active and vibrant member of the ICC.” 

The ICC had shown concern and was forced to respond when a lot of negative reports on the appointment of the interim committee came out of Sri Lanka. The ICC was totally misinformed by disgruntled individuals who had lost power by the appointment of the interim committee and were further frustrated when elections were also postponed, thus depriving them of making a comeback.

The Nation learns that at the meeting the Minister and interim committee officials had with the ICC, the world body for cricket had been updated on what had been happening during the previous regime.

The same frustrated officials had also misinformed the cricket loving public in Sri Lanka that the country may lose its ICC full membership and that monies due to them would be withheld.
The ICC initially withheld the monies due but after the SLC had written a letter explaining the situation and it was followed by a reply letter to the ICC by the Minister that was subsequently followed by the meeting in Dubai, the ICC has agreed to release some of the money for cricket.

As for the suspension of ICC full membership there is absolutely nothing to say that it can happen just because a member country had appointed an interim committee to run its cricket administration.

According to reliable sources the ICC had not even thought on those lines and if they were to do such a thing there has to be an investigation which will take a period of time.

The ICC may have certain articles in place which says that they don’t encourage interim committees and government interference, but that alone is not sufficient to suspend membership.
However the Lankan delegations convinced the ICC that there was no government interference at all and the selections and operations etc of the SLC were functioning independently.

Further to the meeting in Dubai, interim committee chairman Sidath Wettimuny had a meeting with all the stakeholders and apprised them of the current situation and of the plans the committee had for the future of cricket.

The stakeholders we understand had expressed concerns that with past interim committees they had not much faith because monies to the tune of Rupees seven billion was lost when stadiums were built and the CD containing all the dealings with contractors had gone missing, which alone warrants an investigation.

They had said they raised the issue to ensure that the monies which the present interim committee would be getting (ie to the amount of US$ 9-10m from the ICC) would be safe and would not go astray as with previous interim committees.

The stakeholders had been given the assurance by Wettimuny and also told rather indirectly the plans the interim committee had in mind cannot be done within a period of six months.
A meeting of the stakeholders with the Sports Minister is due for May 12.

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