Ranjan Ramanayake seeks ICC clarity over Sumathipala

Friday, 5 October 2018 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Madushka Balasuriya

Minister Ranjan Ramanayake has once more brought up concerns surrounding Thilanga Sumathipala’s eligibility to hold office at Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), this time writing a letter directly to International Cricket Council (ICC) CEO Dave Richardson.

In the letter, Ramanayake, citing Sumathipala’s alleged links to Sri Lanka’s gaming industry, seeks clarification from the ICC if the world cricket governing body had in fact passed a ruling allowing Sumathipala to contest in SLC elections.

“Hon. Sumathipala is also known as a successful businessman with interests in newspaper publishing, gaming and trading sports goods. It is common knowledge that Hon. Sumathipala is directly or indirectly involved in gambling through his family business,” states the letter.

“As a member of Sri Lankan Parliament as well a campaigner for good governance, I earnestly request you to please let me know if ICC is satisfied with the suitability of Hon. Sumathipala to hold office at SLC. 

“I would also like to know from you if the ICC had ruled Hon. Sumathipala to contest the 2016 elections to SLC,” it concludes.

As per the ICC, any direct or indirect involvement in the gaming industry would be a violation of its sports regulations and code of ethics, thereby disqualifying any candidate from holding office at either the SLC or the ICC.

Sumathipala has long denied any links tying him to Sri Lanka’s gaming industry. Last year media reports began circulating which purported to show that Sumathipala had under cross-examination in court admitted to having ties with Sri Lankan betting firm Sporting Star.

Sumathipala strongly refuted the claims clarifying that his admission in court was merely acknowledgement of the “existence of public perception” that he and his family were involved in the gaming industry and “not that he is directly, or indirectly involved therein”.

As far as the ICC is concerned, while they have never officially offered a statement declaring their satisfaction with Sumathipala’s candidacy, they have seemingly granted tacit approval in allowing Sumathipala to hold office at SLC on no less than four occasions, while also allowing him a seat on the ICC Executive Committee.