Sri Lanka Cricket losing money; Stakeholders appeal to Maithri, Ranil to act fast

Wednesday, 24 June 2015 00:02 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}



The stakeholders group yesterday claimed that Sri Lanka Cricket was losing money by the day and had appealed to President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to take immediate action.

Following is the latest statement issued yesterday by the grouping, comprising Upali Dharmadasa - Immediate Past President, Mohan de Silva - Vice President, Asanga Senavirathna - Vice President, Nishantha Ranatunga - Secretary, Hirantha Perera – Asst. Secretary and Ajitha Pasquel – Asst. Treasurer, on behalf of the Executive Committee 2013/15 and SLC stakeholders.

Recent decisions made by the Interim Committee officials headed by Sidath Wettimuny are costing Sri Lanka Cricket thumping amounts of money by the day and the managing of employees of SLC are also viewed as extremely poor with strained employer/employee relations creeping in unlike before. Many employees, some with young families of their own, are now unsure about their professional future with SLC whilst some have already received notice that they have to go.

Strangely, the biggest shocker of recent times is where it was only Ten Sports who bid for the unscheduled Indian tour which is to take place in August. Due to the fact that it was the only bidder, Ten Sports, which obviously had inside information, offered to pay the paltriest of sums to SLC, which is now going to set a bad precedent in the long run. In this case Ten Sports has offered to pay SLC a minimal amount of $ 1.4 million for the three test matches to be played against India. On a comparative note, Bangladesh were paid $ 1.5 million for a single test match against India last month, a fee which is three times the amount the SLC has been offered.

If properly negotiated, this amount should have been at least a minimum of $ 6.5 to $ 7 million, which is the sum SLC is guaranteed to get paid when the scheduled Indian tour takes place in 2017. The loss of revenue even in this instance is bound to create a huge difference to SLC and moreover the sport of cricket overall.

 This is a clear indication that the interim committee has not been either competent enough to market one of the most valuable tours a country could obtain or on the other hand there were deliberate attempts by interested individuals to allow Ten Sports to obtain the rights of such a high valued tour at unrealistic market values.

It is also interesting to mention that in the broadcasting rights agreement SLC has with Ten Sports till 2020, the rights holder has provided a minimum offer of 10% less than the rates given for respective scheduled tours as per the tour schedule in the rights agreement for any unscheduled tours taking place.

 The outgoing Executive Committee, knowing the value of additional Indian tours, retained the rights of the SLC to go to the open market for tenders as there was always a possibility of obtaining much higher rates than the 10% reduction of the price offered by the rights holder.

These types of loss-making decisions obviously have contributed to its current financial woes, whereby now it is SLC’s very own cricketers who are made to suffer. Over 60 of them have had their contracts and monthly payments terminated with Wettimuny citing unacceptable reasons at a recently-held press conference. The outcome of this decision is going to have a huge impact on the future of Sri Lankan cricket as most of those affected are players from the rural and outstation areas where in some cases they are the sole breadwinners of their families. 

The lack of finances is deemed to be a huge deterrent to these players with many predicted to give up the sport for good due to the rising cost of living and also due to the sport of cricket itself being an expensive game. Emerging players are also going to be minimal due to financial constraints.

 The stakeholders are worried and concerned as this huge loss of revenue for Sri Lanka cricket is definitely going to have a significant impact on the progress of Sri Lankan cricket, its administration and players. At a time when Sri Lanka cricket was appearing to come out of the woods it is indeed unfortunate that the interim administration of Sri Lanka cricket is driving the institution backwards. We would therefore like to appeal to President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Sports Minister Navin Dissanayake to take appropriate action to remedy this situation without further delay.