Sri Lanka news November 20, 2012

'Reduce government interference in cricket' - Lorgat review

Haroon Lorgat, the former ICC Chief Executive, has recommended less government interference in team selection, in addition to 23 other recommendations to Sri Lanka Cricket, in his review of the sport in the country. Lorgat was appointed short-term special advisor to the SLC in July, and was tasked with performing a wide-ranging review of governance, cricket structure, administration and finances, of which his ten-page report is the result. 

Among the issues Lorgat raises in his report is the poor reputation of the SLC, its weak financial position, lack of professional administration, non-existent organisational culture and a lack of transparency. He also recommends a restructuring of domestic cricket, and recruiting the help of former greats in the development of cricketers.

After Lorgat had presented his report, SLC Secretary Nishantha Ranatunga said it was now the job of the stakeholders - a wide ranging group including clubs, media, players and the SLC themselves - to implement Lorgat's recommendations.

"From my personal point of view, I feel all these recommendations need to be addressed by the stakeholders," Ranatunga said. "The improvements need to sit along with the stakeholders, and they need to come up with strategies to overcome it.

"The other option is to get an independent committee to come and look at this and come up with a solution."

The report's recommendations on reducing government interference focus on a law that requires international team selections to be approved by the Sports Minister, who also appoints a nominee to the selection panel. On the basis of responses from interviewees, the report inferred that the Minister appoints the entire selection panel. The report recommends SLC work towards an amendment to the law that might see a selection process free of government interference. It also suggests the SLC ensure independence for the selection committee, and consider having full time selectors.

Ranatunga said the board had already approached the Sports Minister about amending the Sports Law. "We have discussed this with the honourable Minister, and he was very positive about changing certain clauses in the Sports Law to accommodate this report. He was positive about the changes that are needed for the development of the game."

Lorgat's report also said external or State support are essential to overcoming SLC's debt, and recommended borrowing through 'soft' loans. It also said operational plans, including player payments, needed careful review to ensure they are justifiable expenditures.

The report further states that the administration lacks clear vision, is poorly managed and notes a lack of adequate communication between various arms of SLC. It recommends a reduction in the number of Executive Committee members, which presently stands at 22, and suggests appointment of a CEO who is "properly empowered to lead a professional administration that is held accountable by the board" and is the face of the organisation.

Lorgat has also advised a major restructuring of domestic cricket aimed at decentralising first-class and List A cricket in Sri Lanka from Colombo, and believes dialogue with the existing clubs are vital to that end. The report also suggests former players whose relationship with SLC has soured should be utilised in the development of cricketing talent, after tensions between the parties have been cleared. Lorgat makes mention of former captain Arjuna Ranatunga in his report, who has been an ardent critic of SLC in the past two years, and states he was unable to contact Ranatunga during his research. 

"Unfortunately Mr. Ranatunga was busy, he was traveling and was in the UK on occasions. I am still trying even today to get in touch with him."

Lorgat interviewed 42 stakeholders during his review, including current and former players, SLC staff, board members, club representatives and media.

Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in Sri Lanka

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • INDRA on November 23, 2012, 15:34 GMT

    What Sri Lanka Cricket needs is an Independent Management Committee, free from Political and Commercial interference. The primary objective of the new Committee must be the development of cricket in other Provinces, besides the Western Province. It also needs an Accountable Chairman.

  • Chatty on November 21, 2012, 15:29 GMT

    I think the key thing is to get SLC pay off its debt and be financially stable. The rest will fall into place. SL is always a chaotic place. As a person living in the West, but from SL, I can say with some certainty that Sri Lankans will take a couple of more generations to get the kind of systematic processes found in the West. But, that is not a big problem. Sri Lankans are great at managing chaos. They will muddle through and continue to produce legends in cricket, and they will continue to be regular title contenders for the tournaments that matter. Just get the finances right!

  • Dummy4 on November 21, 2012, 15:14 GMT

    excuse me.. please correct me if i am wrong .. should we have to pay this much to this gentleman and make work hard to know all these ..don't we already aware of these...sanga already told 80% these in cowdery memorial speech 1 year back. we don't expect any thing to be changed... but there are certain things to be have a relook. send home nishantha ranathunga first...thrive to basics .. team is going them politics please...

  • Dummy4 on November 21, 2012, 13:54 GMT

    specially in Sri Lanka..but i don't think it will happen

  • Raman on November 21, 2012, 10:17 GMT

    What Mr. Lorgat say in his report is common knowledge is Sri Lanka. Even slecting a ground for a match has become political. Sooriyawewa stadium with not enough population to watch a cricket match get few matches due to political patronage, while Rangiri Dambulla statdium is almost abandoned becuase it is not favored by the political praternity. Chairman of the selection board is a political apppointment.

  • Ankit on November 21, 2012, 9:49 GMT

    So u first hire a "Short Term Special Advisor", to understand what is wrong with SLC & then ur thinking of getting an "Independent Committee to come and look at this and come up with a solution". Typical Bureaucratic farce approach to eliminate bureaucracy & Government influence from the system.

  • Denham on November 21, 2012, 8:18 GMT

    Time is ripe for changes and I sincerely hope the recommendations will be looked in to on a serious/positive note and implemented. Just releasing statements about it and doing nothing won't do any good to the much loved game here in Sri Lanka. High time authorities pulled their socks up and do something to get out of the rut we are in right now. The 23 would have been 123 had Mr. Lorgat got a chance of meeting Mr. Arjuna Ranatunga i suspect...

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