Sri Lanka news December 19, 2011

Sumathipala withdraws from SLC elections


Former Sri Lanka Cricket president, Thilanga Sumathipala, has pulled out of the race for the presidency, leaving his main rival Upali Dharmadasa as the most likely to win the election on January 3.

"I have decided not to contest for personal reasons," Sumathipala told ESPNcricinfo after accompanying the rest of his team to hand over their nominations to the Ministry of Sports earlier today. The said ministry will conduct the elections.

Since the last interim committee, headed by Dharmadasa, was dissolved by the ministry on November 15, there has been a lot of lobbying going on for key positions from either side. The consensus of opinion suggests that political pressure was put on Sumathipala, who is a sitting member of parliament, to withdraw, thus paving the way for Dharmadasa, who also has strong links with the government.

However Sumathipala denied that was the case. "I have taken the decision not to contest because I need time to devote to cricket if I am to become president," he said. "With my involvement as a government MP, I may not find that amount of time."

Sumathipala had served as president of SLC in 1997-1998, 2000-2001 and 2003-2004. His board was forced to stand down in the wake of an investigation into alleged financial irregularities in 2001. In 2004, he had to pull out of the elections as he was in jail at the time for passport fraud.

Sumith Perera, the president of of Baduraliya Cricket Club, is the only other candidate for president, but is not seen as a serious contender.

Running alongside Dharmadasa will be K Mathivanan, a former SLC secretary, who is running for one of the vice-president's posts. However, the Dharmadasa camp has not nominated anyone for the posts of secretary and treasurer.

Nishantha Ranatunga, who was secretary of the interim committee headed by DS de Silva, is contesting as an independent candidate for the post of secretary. He faces opposition from Michael de Zoysa, a former assistant secretary who has been nominated from the Sumathipala camp.The post of treasurer is uncontested with Nuski Mohamed, a former secretary and treasurer being the only nominee for the post.

Sri Lanka Cricket is holding elections for the first time since 2004. Over the last seven years, the sport has been run by a succession of government appointed interim committees. The biggest challenge the new board will face is rebuilding SLC's finances, which are reportedly in debt to the tune of $32.5 million. SLC was bankrupted revamping the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo and building two new grounds in Pallekele and Hambantota for the 2011 World Cup, for which the DS de Silva interim administration has been blamed. These stadiums are now being maintained by the government, with the army, navy and air force each looking after one stadium.

Since the World Cup ended in April, Sri Lanka Cricket has been unable to pay the salaries of its 100-odd contracted cricketers and 200-odd employees. It has sought the help of the treasury department of the government is awaiting payments due from the ICC to help pay the players.

In the lead up to the nominations, Dharmadasa had revealed a 12-point plan for revitalising SLC. Among his proposal are the maximisation of revenue from television rights, something SLC has not always done in the past, and to use the 2012 World Twenty20 as a starting point to develop sports tourism in the country.

List of Nominations
President (1 post) : Upali Dharmadasa, Sumith R Perera
Vice Presidents (2 posts) : Jayantha Paranathala, Mohan de Silva, Michael de Zoysa, Asanga Seneviratne, K Mathivanan
Secretary (1 post) : Nishantha Ranatunga, Ravin Wickramaratne, Michael de Zoysa
Treasurer (1 post) : Nuski Mohamed
Assistant Secretary (1 post): Irwin Jayawardene, Gerard Hirantha Perera
Assistant Secretary (1 post): Ajitha Pasqual, Prasanna Fernando, Gihan Weerasinghe, Michael de Zoysa, Nihal Lewke.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Srinath on December 21, 2011, 5:57 GMT

    Wow...NR contesting again for SLC secretary position? 40 more trips planned? Anyway god help Sri Lanka Cricket

  • Indrasoma on December 20, 2011, 8:20 GMT

    Bring back MJ as the captain for next few tours with Mathews as VC. Good players are not always good leaders. MJ is a good captain in the field than Sanga but Sanga is good captain out of field than MJ. My openion to eye opener to the expected officials of SLC.

  • Amila on December 20, 2011, 6:01 GMT

    @Wijeipb spot on , these days our school cricket is producing nonsense cricketers....

  • Johnathon on December 20, 2011, 3:51 GMT

    No "12 point plan" is going to Revive SLC. You need a revolution and the most important thing, a very STRONG plan to get transition from high school cricket to first class. Not everybody in SL go to college, only the wealthy

  • max on December 20, 2011, 2:58 GMT

    most important point is missing here. Point No. 13. Presenting a Brand new Aston Martin car to Namal Rajapaksha towards clearing the path to become the next president of SLC. Thilanga Sumapthipala, Ana Punchihewa will never back up unless there is a severe threat for them. Sin for the SLC cricket.

  • Ravi on December 20, 2011, 1:43 GMT

    Crooks from the past are back for the second, third or forth times to rip-off. Nice going SLC, a good reflection of our level of cricket now.

  • Sai on December 19, 2011, 15:48 GMT

    Ah finally, a good leader for SLC. Now hopefully SL players and fans won't make any excuses such as the management is bad, no salaries for 8 months, politics, bad captaincy, waste bowling attack, etc. After the SA series, I wonder who will captain SL. I would love to see Mathews captain but I've heard that he is not the least bit interested in the captaincy. Next option is Kumar Sangakkara but I don't know if he wants the captaincy "headache" again as he described it. The final option is Chandimal but he is too inexperienced, making him captain could backfire.

  • Michael on December 19, 2011, 14:37 GMT

    Point no: 14. Get rid of all sycophants, carpetbaggers, political interference and hangers-on. Point no: 15. Set out a strong agenda with firm timelines and responsibilities and work to them. Point no: 16. Reward actions and accomplishments, not words and bafflegab.Point no: 17. Treat all employess of SLC with respect and dignity, not as pawns in a game of bad management and political expediency. Point 18: Treat the fans of SL cricket with respect and performance. Mr. Dharmadasa, go for it!

  • Indrasoma on December 19, 2011, 14:02 GMT

    Further to my previouse comment I would emphasis the school tournaments are looks to me as battle of coach's of most of the schools. SLC has to look forward and make school cricket tournamets are fruit full to the nation.

  • Indrasoma on December 19, 2011, 13:49 GMT

    Whoever the elect SLC chairman has to consider the above item 5 strenthening the school cricket. According to my observation school cricket is more or less ignored by SLC. I work very closely with one of the schools cricket association and harly found support from SLC and there is no proper plan to find good young talents and promote them towards the national cricket. Mind you that you are to play with national resources but not your personal resources. If

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