UNP MP Harin Fernando at the media briefing
in Sirikotha yesterday - Pic by Ruwan Walpola
- Insists Gazette, subsequent ban of Sumathipala made in SLC’s best interest
- Harin appeals to AG to defend him after Sumathipala files Writ against ban
- Insists legal changes one of the best steps taken when he was Minister
- Warns local cricket will suffer unless his policy adhered to, fail to meet ICC guidelines
Former Sports Minister and United National Party (UNP) MP Harin Fernando yesterday charged that he managed to bring transparency and restore rule of law within Sri Lanka Cricket by introducing International Cricket Council (ICC) guidelines into the law.
Fernando, addressing a press conference yesterday at the party headquarters, said three individuals including the former President of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Thilanga Sumathipala have begun legal action, which necessitates him to defend actions he took as a Minister.
He opined that he should be defended by the Attorney General in the case filed against him by former SLC President, as it brings to question his ministerial actions which were taken in his official capacity.
Last year, Sumathipala was banned from any form of involvement in cricket administrative affairs through a special gazetted notification tabled to Parliament by Fernando. Fernando called the legislation one the best accomplishments of his tenure as Sports Minister, and called on the sporting community and the press to highlight corruption in sports.
Fernando pointed out that an ICC-led inquiry found Sumathipala unfit to hold office due to his family links in gambling and sports betting. The decision taken to ban Sumathipala from holding any position in the SLC Executive Committee was done in the best interest of the country and the sport, he stated.
Sumathipala last week filed a Writ Application in the Court of Appeal asking for an independent inquiry over his suspension from the cricket board administration.
“Sumathipala has hired a top lawyer to fight the case. I cannot afford to pay a thumping amount for a lawyer. I request the Attorney General to defend me in this regard, as the decision taken was on behalf of the country and the betterment of the sport,” Fernando pointed out.
The former Minister stressed that he was ready to face any inquiry armed with facts that will justify his actions, but warned that if the ICC guidelines are not adhered to, Sri Lanka Cricket and sports in Sri Lanka in general will suffer.