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Sri Lanka Sports Minister Harin Fernando Reverses SLC Board's Dismissal

image-lq3thjywSri Lanka Cricket (X.com)

On December 12, the Sports Minister of Sri Lanka, Harin Fernando, took the decision to revoke the sacking of the entire Sri Lankan Cricket Board (SLC) following a disastrous run in the recently concluded World Cup tournament. The board has been accused of widespread corruption allegations and has found itself in the midst of enormous interference from the government.

The decision comes in the wake of a suspension that was initially placed by the ICC following constant meddling from the Sri Lankan government. The suspension has now been lifted, but the tensions continue to rage. By revoking the sacking, the SLC has attempted to address the ICC’s concerns over significant government interference in the board's management.

This ongoing saga has led to the dismissal of Fernando's predecessor, Roshan Ranasinghe, who had made allegations against the country's president, Ranil Wickremesinghe, regarding an assassination plot.

"I signed a gazette to revoke the decision appointing an interim committee for Sri Lanka Cricket, aiming to lift our ICC suspension," Fernando wrote on X.

Fernando cited that he urged the ICC to conduct an audit to assess the scale of corruption within the board during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup in Australia in 2022. So far, an official response from the ICC has not been received on this matter. Ranasinghe had been at odds with Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe regarding the management of SLC during the 2023 World Cup. He accused office-bearers of severe corruption, and as a result, he was compelled to sack the entire cricket board in November 2023.

Amidst the fiasco surrounding stringent political interference, the SLC lost the hosting rights to host the upcoming U-19 T20 World Cup scheduled for January 2024. This decision resulted in immediate financial repercussions. The elected members of SLC disclosed that the nation incurred a loss of a $2.4 million ICC grant specifically allocated for the development of venues to host the 16-nation event. Despite the ban, Sri Lanka still retains its eligibility to participate in bilateral tournaments.