By Sa’adi Thawfeeq
It looks like it will be plain sailing for the incumbent office-bearers of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) at tomorrow’s elections following the withdrawal of the three main contestants K. Mathivanan, Nishantha Ranatunga and Bandula Warnapura yesterday.
Mathivanan was contesting for the post of President, Warnapura for the post of Vice President and Ranatunga for the post of Secretary.
However in a letter addressed to the Election Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket the ‘Big Three’ as they called themselves giving reasons for their withdrawals have stated among other things, the following: “It has been spoken and admitted that the bane of Sri Lanka Cricket politics has been its overwhelming overload of stakeholder votes, resulting in vote buying and other acts of omission which does not cater to a level playing field for anyone coming forward with a will to change the system.
“This system, many in authority have vowed to change, is in fact further encouraged by not taking effective measures to curb it. We therefore feel that our attempts will come to naught and in these unfortunate circumstances, we are reluctantly compelled to withdraw from the said Election.”
The full text of the letter is as follows.
It was with a sense of optimism, enthusiasm and expectations that the three of us, K. Mathivanan, Bandula Warnapura and Nishantha Ranatunga decided to contest for the posts of President, Vice President and Secretary respectively, at the forthcoming Sri Lanka Cricket Election of Office Bearers to be held on 20 May.
This sense of optimism was fuelled by the prevalent situation where an esteemed organisation like Sri Lanka Cricket had degenerated into what it is today, since the heady days of our World Cup victory in 1996 and subsequently the status of our position in ICC Rankings with our achievements of becoming the World Cup Runners Up in 2011, World T20 Runners Up in 2012 and Champions in 2014 during the tenure of Mr. Mahindananda Aluthgamage as the Minister of Sports, guided by Mahinda Rajapaksa as the President of our country.
All three of us have been involved in one way or another in the past administration of this prestigious sports organisation and we felt the need to revive it to its former glory in its performance and administrative ability.
Sri Lanka Cricket now languishes at the bottom of the ICC Rankings in all three formats of the game, not least due to the maladministration and chicanery of its incumbent office bearers. The SLC finances and administration are in disarray, with dishonest officials even being unable to prevent its TV revenue funds being diverted to foreign bank accounts.
Ultimately, the players have had to forego large portions of their contractual income due to these shortcomings in the administration. Several attempts on our part to highlight these shortcomings have been summarily brushed aside by the various committees appointed supposedly on trust to discharge their duties impartially but that impartiality and trust being sadly misplaced.
A very serious lapse by way of delayed submission of annual accounts and not having obtained the Auditor General’s approval as required by the Constitution, has been disregarded by the authorities, a major cause of concern in the upholding of trust and impartiality.
Their misdeeds have been highlighted even by the Parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) which has castigated its performance as being unworthy of a proper administration.
It has been spoken of and admitted that the bane of Sri Lanka cricket politics has been its overwhelming overload of stakeholder votes, resulting in vote buying and other acts of omission which does not cater to a level playing field for anyone coming forward with a will to change the system. This system, which many in authority have vowed to change, is in fact further encouraged by not taking effective measures to curb it.
We therefore feel that our attempts will come to naught and in these unfortunate circumstances, we are reluctantly compelled to withdraw from the said election.
Elections to be held virtually
Meanwhile the SLC election of office-bearers will be held virtual tomorrow from the SLC headquarters in Maitland Place because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The voting will take place virtual with 146 votes being cast by 29 controlling clubs, five provincial associations, six cricket associations, and 22 district cricket associations each of whom have two votes, and 22 affiliated clubs each of whom have one vote.
They will vote to fill seven office-bearer posts for president, vice-presidents (two), secretary, treasurer, assistant secretary and assistant treasurer.
The elections will be conducted by the three-member Election Committee of SLC comprising Justice Malini Gunaratna (Chairperson), Justice Shiromi Perera (member) and Dr. D.M.R.B. Dissanayaka (member). This committee appointed by the SLC membership at a Special General Meeting has been carrying forward the processes of the election of office-bearers.
“The election of office-bearers will be held as scheduled on 20 May by going through the rest of the agenda. When the financial reports are ready it would be tabled at a Special General Meeting to get it passed on a later date. Financial reports can even be tabled later as long as we have submitted it before the end of February, then there is no issue,” said SLC Management Committee Member Ashley de Silva.