Sri Lanka news December 21, 2011

Sri Lanka's first-class matches postponed

Sri Lanka's domestic first-class Premier Tier A and B league matches, which were to begin on Wednesday, have been indefinitely postponed. This is the latest twist to the troubles afflicting Sri Lankan cricket, and the clubs and national board have offered conflicting reasons for the postponement.

SLC's head of cricket operations, Ashley de Silva, told ESPNcricinfo that the clubs requested a postponement on the grounds that there would be "too much cricket following the end of the Premier limited-overs tournament". The tournament, he said, would be rescheduled only after the elections on January 3, when a new tournament committee would be appointed.

On the other hand, the clubs handed over a signed statement of their problems and demands to Udaya Seneviratne, the authority appointed by the Minister of Sports to administer the SLC until elections are held. The four services teams were exempted from signing the petition.

Club co-ordinator Ranjan Paranavitana said that the clubs were protesting against outstanding payments and the ad hoc manner in which the matches have been scheduled.

"We have to play a [three-day] match every three days and this is not feasible," Paranavitana said. "A lot of players face problems taking leave from work, and the players also risk burnout and injuries with no proper break between matches."

The clubs were paid 30% of their dues for the Premier limited-overs tournament which concluded on Saturday, and have said that unless at least 60% of the balance is paid, they would find it difficult to play the first-class matches.

The SLC pays 2.7 million Sri Lankan rupees to each of the 11 Tier A clubs and 2.3 million to each of the 10 Tier B clubs per season. The clubs utilise this money to pay the players, ground fees, fund practice sessions and food, among other things.

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