Sri Lanka news August 29, 2012

SLC in better control of financial situation - Lorgat

Sri Lanka Cricket special advisor and former ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat has said he is encouraged by the measures SLC have taken in the wake of a financial crisis, and believes the board has since "got a handle" on their financial situation. Lorgat is presently in the country conducting a wide-ranging review of the state of the game in Sri Lanka, and is expected to produce a report of his findings and recommendations later in the year. 

Lorgat said he had not yet pinned down areas of priority for his review, but suggested the SLC's financial management would be given special attention. "I think it's fair to say that the financial situation is something that needs to be looked at and is already being tackled by SLC," he said. "I know for a fact because I was with the ICC at the time, that there were serious challenges with finances. But it's good and it's positive for me to say that at least there is a handle on it now and there's progress being made. But there's still a long way to go."

The SLC has been mired in debt approaching $70 million since the 2011 World Cup after constructing two new international cricket stadiums and ordering extensive renovations on a third. After struggling to make player payments over the last 18 months, the SLC has cut its number of contracted players from 100 to 60 as well as made layoffs elsewhere in order to trim spending. 

"Sri Lanka Cricket has taken up and understood what the issues are," Lorgat said. "It's working out its cashflows and its projections, its expenses, its revenue cycles and so on. It's probably got a better management system for its finances now, from what I've seen."

The board ended eight months of delay in player payments after the state owned Bank of Ceylon released $5 million to the SLC in February. It has also had to lean on a $2.5 million disbursement from the ICC, to prepare for hosting the World Twenty20, which begins on September 18. Of that sum, $500,000 is string-free grant, $1 million an advance on ticket sales, and $1 million a loan which must be repaid in 2015.

Lorgat commended the SLC for commissioning an examination of its finances, governance and structure, and said he would continue in the role until he can complete a thorough review.

"In terms of length I will stay and do as much as is required to complete a piece of work. I wouldn't want to be constrained by time. I have agreed to work until the end of October, but I will do whatever is necessary to complete the piece of work. "

Research for Lorgat's review began a week ago, and he said he is speaking to a variety of stakeholders in Sri Lanka in order to better understand the state of cricket in the country. "The section of people that I'm speaking to have come from the media, the national team, board members, ex-captains, staff, to get an idea of what happens within the office. There are people in club setups that I will speak to… everybody who will help me form a picture of Sri Lanka cricket."

"I've been encouraged by the conversations I've already had. It's quite positive, people have been forthcoming. That's part of the value of being independent. People will share with you what they believe is good, what they believe is not good, what needs to be done and so on."

Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in Sri Lanka