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Tillakaratne alleges political interference in SLC polls

Tariq Engineer

January 10, 2012

Comments: 25 | Text size: A | A

Hashan Tillakaratne in Colombo, where he was asked about his comments on match-fixing, May 3, 2011
Hashan Tillakaratne said the SLC election violated the board's constitution © AFP
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Hashan Tillakaratne, the former Sri Lanka captain turned politician, has written to the ICC claiming there was political interference in the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) elections held on January 3, and that the elections had also violated the SLC's constitution.

Tillakaratne alleged the Sri Lanka government allowed a change of voting delegates at the last minute in order to ensure that votes were cast for a predetermined list of candidates, and that several of those who were elected were not qualified to hold office under the constitution.

However, in an email to ESPNcricinfo, the ICC said they have "no knowledge of such a letter".

Tillakaratne's comments echo those of Mohan de Silva, one of the opposing candidates for vice-president, whose group withdrew on the eve of the election in protest of what they saw as political interference.

"Most of our member clubs and associations brought to our notice that there was undue pressure put on them to change the delegates [who would vote]," de Silva said at the time.

A total of 147 votes were spread among the provincial and district cricket associations and the clubs. The election was held under the auspices of the Ministry of Sports, and supervised by the Director General of Sports, Ranjani Jayakody. In his letter, Hashan claimed that "the Director General of Sports instructed all clubs eligible to vote at the said elections to submit their list of delegates who will be attending on or before 12 noon on 19th December 2012. However, just three days before the election this list of delegates was mysteriously changed and several high ranking Government Ministers were renamed as delegates.

"This was done to ensure that all the clubs that came within the said Ministers electorates or Districts would tow the 'political line'."

In addition, Tillakaratne claimed that a number of contestants did not qualify under Article 11 (v) (f) of the SLC's constitution, which states that any candidate for office must have served on the executive committee for a period of two years within the 15-year period immediately preceding the election.

"When these objections were raised, the position taken by the Director General of Sports was that the Hon Minister of Sports could waive this requirement in the SLC Constitution," Tillakaratne said. "However, it was then pointed out to the said Director General that the only exemption that the Minister could make in terms of the Sports Law and the Regulations thereunder is to permit a candidate who has not played first class cricket to contest for a post. The Minister had no power to waive any other requirement in the Constitution of SLC.

"However, no inquiry was held and no decision taken with regard to these objections and these candidates who did not qualify in terms of the constitution of SLC were allowed to contest for appointment to these posts (and subsequently take up office)."

According to Tillakaratne, the elections clearly violated the ICC's articles, which seek to prevent governments from interfering in the administration of the sport. "Due to political interference the membership of SLC have been deprived of an opportunity to have free and fair elections."

Upali Dharmadasa was elected unopposed as president of SLC on January 3 in the board's first election in seven years. Nishantha Ranatunga was voted in uncontested as secretary and Nuski Mohamed was elected treasurer. The only election to be contested was for the post of assistant treasurer, with Ajitha Pasqual winning comfortably. All those elected will serve a one-year term.

Following the election, Jayakody denied there had been any pressure and said the delegates represented the views of clubs and therefore their individual preferences were not of any consequence. "The concerned parties can take necessary legal action," she told reporters. "I held a fair election."

Tariq Engineer is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo

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Posted by   on (January 13, 2012, 12:36 GMT)

@Ram Jagendran - Arent you another Elam fan ? Where does that exist & tell us do they have test status ?

Posted by   on (January 13, 2012, 9:29 GMT)

sl cricket is becoming like sl cab!!!

Arjuna will be the best choice to hold the position!

Where are you Mr. Think Tank??? You are the best of ever!!!

Posted by yorkslanka on (January 13, 2012, 8:23 GMT)

@ram jegendran- as a sri lankan that lives in England myself, we sometimes have to leave to better our job prospects and in my case, the propsects for my family..no one wants to leave their country of birth(normally) its just the way life is..You will find that the level of education in sri lanka is good, hence why there are a high proportion of people who can go overseas and do well...finally, why do we wave the flag, because, irrelevant of where you live, if you are a Sri Lankan, the SL blood runs through our veins and we are always proud of our country.. I agree with Hashan, little men in your big offices, stick tio what you know and leave cricket alone...cric pls publish..

Posted by Sinhabahu on (January 11, 2012, 7:25 GMT)

@Ram Jegendran, at least it's better than waving the flag of a country that does not exist, if you get my point ;)

Posted by Ameega on (January 11, 2012, 2:13 GMT)

@Ram Jegendran, it is funny man! I recommend you to watch Ind-Aus series on TV before making such comments? I cannot stop laughing!

Posted by   on (January 10, 2012, 23:42 GMT)

This is probably too, and we all know nothing is going to be done about it!...

Posted by   on (January 10, 2012, 22:13 GMT)

Why do people in Sri Lanka leave the Country where they were born? They migrate to the UK Australia but wave the Sri Lankan flags living in Foreign countries. Is it fair?

Posted by seantells on (January 10, 2012, 17:51 GMT)

Country itself in a mess and everyone knows why, wait and see all matter of time

Posted by SLMaster on (January 10, 2012, 16:39 GMT)

Why should Hashan care ... new administrators are volunteering for this job. Other dropped out becaseu SLC has no money. New Administration will not accept any payment before paying players ????? So polictical inteference where there is no money is acceptable !!!!!

Posted by Afta on (January 10, 2012, 16:33 GMT)

Sri lanka is a highly politicised society and love to wash dirty linen in public. WHAT A SHAME...... Read today's (10 Jan 2012) Daily Mirror....Damn the politicians. Everything is at stake.

Posted by OzWally on (January 10, 2012, 14:50 GMT)

You want the ICC to oversee elections to ensure they are fair and unbiased, with no political hanky panky?!? Good one.

Posted by stormy16 on (January 10, 2012, 14:27 GMT)

Hashan may have a valid point but this is the second such statement he has made but doesnt put up anything other than make wild statements.

Posted by   on (January 10, 2012, 13:57 GMT)

it's true and it's sad. politics always interferes with cricket in SL. please leave cricket alone

Posted by   on (January 10, 2012, 12:44 GMT)

This is the Sri Lankan way of holding elections including presidential, parliamentary and local government as had been witnessed and claimed to be fair and democratic.This characteristic naturally filters down the line.

Posted by Lord.emsworth on (January 10, 2012, 12:30 GMT)

Déjà vu.......Nothing new.....Same old stew....

Posted by Dhushan on (January 10, 2012, 11:21 GMT)

This obviously is not the 1st time that our government interfered with SLC & I highly doubt it'll be the last as well but things certainly are getting out of hand. There seems to be no limit. @Prbath Neranja - What are you saying? How can you say that Hashan has bad intentions when all he wants is the best for Sri Lankan cricket. He's one you has played the game & knows the sport & the administration inside out. Someone has to take a stand. I just hope that cricket in our island will not be penalised

Posted by   on (January 10, 2012, 10:39 GMT)

Nothing new here really....

Posted by   on (January 10, 2012, 10:37 GMT)

one of many SL ex cricketers who want to see death of sri lanken cricket, such a shame

Posted by tfjones1978 on (January 10, 2012, 10:21 GMT)

The ICC should have delegates attend elections of full members to ensure that if unfair elections do occur that the ICC delegates can advise the ICC and ICC can take action against the witnessed events.

Posted by   on (January 10, 2012, 10:00 GMT)

here we go again

Posted by   on (January 10, 2012, 9:56 GMT)

How can Mrs Jayakody claim the election was fair as there has been no election.She should look into the reasons of last minute withdrawal of candidature and underline reasons behind that.The public should protect SLC from political interference or otherwise rapid downfall of the sport is the most likely outcome.

Posted by Urajapakse on (January 10, 2012, 9:56 GMT)

God save Sri Lanka cricket. What happened to West Indies in early 90's will definitely happen, NOT BECAUSE WE LACK TALENT, BUT DUE TO THE INVOLVEMENT OF dirty politics/politicians.

Posted by rajithwijepura on (January 10, 2012, 8:31 GMT)

This election was held just for re-elect same interim committee in an voted election.

Posted by Lion_96 on (January 10, 2012, 8:04 GMT)

i know we are a socialist republic, but I don't think its any of the governments business to interfere with our sporting bodies. this is ruining our performance on and off the field. we shud take leaf out of aussie hand book look north , to see how well cricket can work administratively, without government involvement.

Posted by DwightR on (January 10, 2012, 7:43 GMT)

is anyone really surprised that SLC will remain under political influence? not at all...its really pitiful

Comments have now been closed for this article

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