SLC Presidential candidate Jayantha Dharmadasa speaks to the media alongisde his team members Nishantha Ranatunga (Secretary) and K. Mathivanan (Vice-President) at Nawaloka Hospital yesterday.
Despite the cricket elections being delayed by a further two weeks, both contesting parties expressed confidence of winning the AGM that was postponed by the Appeal Court in May last year. The elections that were scheduled for the 7th of February was put off by a further two weeks by the Sports Ministry on legal advice. Now the elections will take place on the 21st February.
Former cricket chief Thilanga Sumathipala having withdrawn from the race has nominated his confidant Mohan De Silva to contest for the post of Presidency. De Silva himself a former President of the Board having been at the helm in 2004 will contest against two time President Jayantha Dharmadasa (2005-2007 and 2013-2014).
Both parties were confident of winning the elections.
“We thank the ICC and the Minister of Sports for allowing the democratic process to prevail. We have countered all the allegations leveled against our members. We had developed a business plan but in the last nine months nothing was happening. We want to continue the good work,” De Silva told journalists at a media briefing held at Colombo Cricket Club yesterday.
Dharmadasa meanwhile addressed the media along with his team at Nawaloka Hospital in Colombo and predicted an overwhelming win.
“We are hundred percent certain of winning this election. There’s lot to be done to put our cricket right. At the moment, the players, coaches and selectors are all divided and we need to bring them on one platform. I have achieved results and the team had fared well during my previous two stints as President. Along with me, I have a very good team whereas in the last two years it was one man show,” he said.
Along with Mohan De Silva, Shammi Silva and Ravin Wickramaratne will contest as Vice-Presidents while Bandula Dissanayake, who has had quite a bit of success as head of the Tournament Committee will vie for the post of Secretary.
From Dharmadasa’s side, World Cup winning former captain Arjuna Ranatunga and K. Mathivanan will contest for the posts of Vice-Presidents. Nishantha Ranatunga will be his nominee for the Secretary’s post.
Minister of Sports Harin Fernando was compelled to call for elections after the International Cricket Council was reluctant to give Sri Lankan officials more time to sort out the administrative woes. Former Sports Minister Faizer Mustapaha had borrowed quite a bit of time from the governing body to introduce changes to cricket governance but did precious little over an eight month period.
His refusal to appoint an Interim Committee and to run the cricket affairs on his own after the court stayed the elections was a bitter blow for the sport as the game suffered many setbacks and there was no leadership to address burning issues. In that period, SLC accounts were hacked succesfully alledgedly by an insider and official broadcast partner paid a portion of the money that it owed SLC to an offshore account. Another attempt to transfer millions of US$ was thwarted in the 11th hour.
Whichever the party that gets elected, SLC faces a stiff challenge. The national cricket team has hit new lows in the last 24 months but the more serious problem is the corruption charges the country faces.
The ICC has stationed a full time Anti Corruption official in Colombo to help Sri Lanka to come out of the current predicament. Minister Fernando had claimed that the ICC had labelled Sri Lanka the most corrupt country in the sport.
The ICC has given a two week grace period for all First Class cricketers and other stakeholders to report approaches that were made to corrupt games.