SLC Treasurer admits seeking Govt. loans

Thursday, 9 June 2011 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has sought financial help from the government and state banks.

SLC treasurer Sujeewa Rajapakse has told the BBC Sinhala service that the board has sought a grant from the two bodies.

It comes after capital expenditure on the recent World Cup put the country’s richest sports body in trouble.

Rajapakse, also treasurer for the World Cup secretariat, said that unlike India and Bangladesh, Sri Lanka had to work on its venues from scratch.

The three countries were the co-hosts of the 2011 cricket World Cup.

As a result of its hosting role the BBC understands that the SLC is facing a sizeable debt.

The initial cost for the building of the new venue in President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s hometown, Hambantota, and renovating other two venues in Colombo and Kandy was estimated at Rs. 3.5 bn (£1.9m).

By the end of the construction though, the cost had exceeded Rs. 7 billion.

The crisis comes at a time Sri Lanka is competing with Australia to host another mega sporting event, Commonwealth Games in 2018.

In a recent report, it was stated that the Treasury had agreed to grant a Rs. 325 million loan to the SLC, but the BBC understands the sum could exceed this by a large amount.

The newspaper also said that the country’s richest sports body is even struggling to pay workers’ salaries as a result of the debt crisis.

This is despite the board receiving income from ticket sales and a share of the television rights. The SLC has already held a few rounds of discussions with the Government and the Sports Minister on how to settle the debt crisis.

The ICC spokesman said venue construction is a matter for the host, not the ICC.