Sri Lanka news December 4, 2011

Sri Lanka players to be paid soon - sports minister

ESPNcricinfo staff

Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Sri Lanka's sports minister, has said the Sri Lanka cricketers who have not received their salaries since the World Cup will be paid, at least in part, by next week. Sri Lanka have played three series since the end of the World Cup, and the players are still awaiting payment, including match fees and contract payments.

"There has always been a delay of four to five months in paying their salaries," Aluthgamage told BBC Sinhala. "We admit that the players are to be paid 347 million Sri Lankan rupees for the last seven months, until September." He said that he expected half of the outstanding salaries to be paid initially.

Sri Lanka Cricket has been in debt to the tune of US$23 million since co-hosting the World Cup and the board had to ask the Sri Lanka government for a grant. The financial crisis centres around the construction of new stadiums in Hambantota and Pallekele, and the renovation of the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo for the World Cup. SLC has been expecting payments from the ICC amounting to $4.3million for co-hosting the World Cup, but has had to wait until the completion of the governing body's World Cup audit.

The payment of salaries is now possible as the ICC is set to release part of that money to the SLC, according to Aluthgamage. "Yes there has been a delay," he said. "But now the accounts have been submitted."

Aluthgamage also confirmed that the government had refused the grant of one billion Sri Lankan rupees that was requested by the SLC, but had sanctioned a grant for 50 million rupees.