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With the eyes of the world hawkishly scrutinising World Cup stadiums, Sri Lanka are determined not to let their dirty linen be washed in public. Not that there is any infighting between the authorities. They just quite literally don’t want people around the R Premadasa Stadium washing, or drying their clothes in public. In a list of directives issued to residents and shop owners around the ground by the Colombo city authorities, people have been asked to “abstain from hanging out clothes for drying in public view and putting garbage on the roadsides”.
The 35,000-seater Premadasa, which will host seven matches during the World Cup, is surrounded by low-income housing schemes, and city authorities are determined to promote an efficient image of Colombo. As if instructions not to “hang things out to dry” and “take out the trash” weren’t enough to keep the idle-minded occupied in thinking up appropriate puns, the Colombo authorities also piqued curiosity with their order that people refrain from “engaging in street games such as hopscotch and cricket matches”, making one wonder just what the extent of the popularity of hopscotch is in Sri Lanka.
This is the latest in a series of subcontinent-wide attempts towards portraying a clean image during the World Cup. The authorities in Dhaka, another host city for the tournament, have already asked their residents to paint their houses and cars. Now, all that’s needed is for the people in charge of Eden Gardens to request people not to use the scaffolding on the stadium as a jungle gym.