by Champika Fernando
The International Cricket Council has granted further six-week grace period to hold Sri Lanka Cricket election after a delegation headed by Sports Minister Faiszer Musthapha beg for more time to sort out issues before going for election.
Accordingly the deadline has been extended till February 9, sources said.
The meeting took place on August 29 in Dubai between a Sri Lankan delegation and a delegation headed by ICC President Shashank Manohar. The Minister had briefed the ICC on the circumstances causing the delay notwithstanding the Court of Appeal clearing the way on July 3. Kamal Padmasiri, the Competent Authority running cricket, SLC CEO Ashley de Silva and Senior Deputy Solicitor General Sumathi Dharmawardena were present at the meeting.
Earlier ICC issued a stern warning to the SLC in July to ensure fair and democratic elections are carried out by the end of 2018 or risk suspension.
According to Article 2.9(B) of ICC’s Articles of Association, ICC prohibits any Government interference in cricket administration and requires free and fair elections. “Where a Government interferes in the administration of cricket by a Member, including but not limited to interference in operation matters, the selection and management of teams, the appointment of coaches or support personnel, the Executive Board shall have the power to suspend or refuse to recognise that member,” it reads.
Accordingly, SLC’s voting rights at the ICC remain suspended while a Government-appointed committee is in charge and, even though the ICC has not suspended its funding to SLC completely, it is being monitored. In the event of a suspension, it’s funding will be cut off completely.
SLC were to go for polls on May 31 to elect members of the Executive Committee but it was halted by a court order when SLC presidential candidate Nishantha Ranatunga challenged the election process and the legitimacy of then President Thilanga Sumathipala’s candidacy on the basis of latter’s family ties to the gaming industry.
The case on the election process was vacated two weeks later, clearing the way for fresh elections but too little has been done to ensure fresh polls before the stipulated time-frame.
Decisions taken at the meeting:
1. To amend regulations to appoint an election committee by the general body of the SLC consisting of two retired judicial officials of the High Court and above, and a retired senior member of the Elections Department/Commission of Sri Lanka or any retired public official with experience in conducting elections. The proposed election committee shall have the authority to vet the voter list and to finalise the same in order to conduct the election process and to announce results.
2. On the appointment of the election committee as stated above nominations shall be called within a period not less than one month from the said date of appointment of the election committee.
3. Any party dissatisfied with any decision taken by the election committee shall appeal within a period of one week to the appellate body consisting of three retired judges of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. Any appeal is to be finalised within one week of submission to the said appellate body.
4. To appoint a Management committee which will consist of four independent members together with the Competent Authority, to manage the affairs of SLC until the elections are conducted.
5. To make necessary arrangements to conduct elections to elect office Bearers to SLC on or before 9th Feb 2019.