By Sa’adi Thawfeeq
SLC President Shammi Silva
Sri Lanka Cricket President Shammi Silva responding to the Attorney-General (AG) Department’s recommendation that the present office-bearers term had expired on 20 February and that SLC should be placed under a new management committee till the elections on 20 May, said that the Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa was in the best position to decide by whom the richest sports body in the country should be run.
The Sports Ministry sought legal advice from the AG after Colombo Colts CC challenged the legality of the current administration headed by Shammi Silva pointing out that their two-year term in office according to the SLC constitution had ended on 20 February.
“Our normal two-year term in office finishes on 31 May, but because of a court ruling in 2019 the AGM was conducted by the Sports Ministry on 21 February 2019 as SLC was then run under a Competent Authority who was the then Sports Minister’s secretary.
“If there is any problem with regard to the SLC constitution the Sports Law which supersedes it can be applied by the Minister of Sport who has the powers to do so. The term of office for any sports body is four years under the Sports Law and the Sports Minister can give the incumbent office-bearers to go on until even four years,” explained Silva.
“The Sports Minister has all the powers under section 33 of the Sports Law to even appoint the same committee to continue until the AGM is held on 20 May. We’ll see what steps the Minister will take with regard to the AG’s recommendation,” he said.
Speaking further Silva pointed out: “At the same time we are currently in talks with the ICC and the ACC to host the Asia Cup in the first two weeks of June this year. If there is a drastic change in the administration we will lose the opportunity and the dates will be pushed back to next year.
“Also the LPL so many people are speaking to us and if anything happens they are certain to pull out. The repercussions are great and the Minister understands it but there are a few Ministry officials who want to disrupt the SLC administration and come as a Competent Authority. They are the ones who are pushing for a change.”
“Only Colts CC have protested about us being in office after 20 February, 99% of the members are against it because we have done so much in the past two years to develop and uplift cricket although we don’t talk about it. Colts are contesting the elections so they want to take the technical side of it and try and disqualify us. In 2019 they adopted a similar procedure against Mohan de Silva who was contesting the post as president,” Silva continued.
“There were clubs who voted against us at the last election but we have not ignored them but helped them financially. During the height of COVID-19 certain clubs could not pay the salaries to their employees and we helped them. Like that we have helped everybody,” he said.
Silva said: “There were allegations made against them that the SLC was giving money to the members to win votes, which is a lie. We give money to our members to improve their facilities and we also follow it up and check whether it has been utilised properly.
“When you say that we have spent Rs. 383 million it is not even 5% of our budget that we have spent and it is over a period of two years. At the same time most of them think that the SLC belongs to the government. This is a private stakeholder ownership. This is total mudslinging when the elections are getting closer,” Silva said.