Sri Lanka Cricket operating on loans as money runs out February 1, 2008

India open to helping out cash-strapped Sri Lanka

Cricinfo staff

The success of the Sri Lanka team relies heavily on the likes of Mahela Jayawardene and Muttiah Muralitharan, but that isn't enough to keep the money rolling in © AFP

The Board for Control of Cricket in India(BCCI) was ready to help Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) overcome its financial problems, Lalit Modi, the BCCI vice-president told Cricinfo.

Arjuna Ranatunga, the chairman of the Sri Lankan board had approached the BCCI for help in tiding over a financial crisis. "We have been in touch for a while, and we are working towards a solution," Modi said.

Ranatunga, who was appointed head of SLC by the country's President Mahinda Rajapakse earlier this month, said the board was surviving on bank borrowings.

"We are now surviving on a six-million dollar bank overdraft," Ranatunga told AFP in an interview this week. "We also plan to ask for a short-term loan from the Indian cricket board to be set off against some of our future tour revenues."

Allegations of kickbacks have dogged Sri Lanka's cricket administration for years and Ranatunga has asked a team of auditors to investigate the board's finances. SLC wasn't short of sponsors after they won the World Cup under Ranatunga's captaincy in 1996, but the kitty has been running dry in recent times.

According to K Mathivanan, the SLC secretary, South Africa's pullout following a bomb blast near their hotel in Colombo in August 2006 cost the board US$11 million in revenue. "That was the only revenue forthcoming in 2006," Mathivanan said. Apart from that, the construction of a stadium in Pallakelle and the renovation of the tsunami-ravaged stadium in Galle cost the board a further $US6.5 million. "The total shortfall in revenue and additional expenditure totalled 2.3 billion rupees [US$ 21 million]."

Most of the money that the SLC earns these days is through prize money won by the national team. Ranatunga, however, was confident he will meet his target to streamline the administration and nurture new talent.

Ranatunga said he looked forward to India's Test and one-day tour of Sri Lanka in July and August to help boost his organisation's finances. "India visit us this year and we are looking towards the Indian tour to earn some money," he said. India has financial muscle due to the massive captive [domestic] television audience. They have also helped us financially.

"While we work closely with other countries, India plays a strong role in keeping our finances afloat."

Ranatunga, a strong campaigner for a radical shake up in domestic cricket, fears that there may not be enough money to spend on developing younger players. The previous administration, headed by businessman Jayantha Dharmadasa, had said it could raise 30 million dollars in worldwide sponsorships within the next five years by way of commercial rights for television.

But Ranatunga was dismissive of the claim. "I don't know where those figures came from," he said, adding he was also reviewing the current deal with Dubai-based satellite broadcaster, Ten Sports, for home internationals.

Ten Sports' US$50million deal ends in 2009 and there were allegations that the previous administration had extended it till 2012 without a proper bidding process.