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March 26, 2013
Sri Lanka's sports ministry has rejected MP Thilanga Sumathipala's nomination for the position of board president, after an inquiry found that Sumathipala fell afoul of Sri Lanka's sports law on three counts, the ministry said.
Sumathipala's candidacy had raised objections from three clubs, and was consequently investigated by a committee appointed by the sports minister. A release from the ministry said the decision to reject Sumathipala's nomination had been made in line with the findings of that committee and upon consultation with Sri Lanka's attorney general.
"MP Thilanga Sumathipala's nomination for the Sri Lanka Cricket presidency, 2013 -2015, has been rejected as it has violated the National Associations of Sports Regulations No. 01 of 2013, section 15-1 of the Sports Law No. 25 of 1973," the release said.
Section 15-1 of the sports law states that, among several other caveats, no person with business interests in the sports betting or sports equipment industry, or involvement in the media, can stand for election for president of any sports association.
"Mr Sumathipala's nomination was rejected because he was found to be contravening the sports law on all three of those grounds," the media secretary for the sports ministry said.
At the time of application, Sumathipala denied that any law, either in Sri Lanka or of the ICC, made his nomination illegal. He was, until 2009, the joint managing director of a business conglomerate named the Sumathi Group, which owns local newspapers and has links to a betting business named Sporting Star. He has said that the specific businesses, which could be potentially problematic to his application, are among several that are managed entirely by other family members, without his involvement.
The SLC president is expected to take a seat on the ICC's board of directors, but the ICC code of ethics also states that "no director shall have any business association, or enter into any business arrangement (whether formal or informal) with any person or company who has interests in gambling".
SLC's elections were originally scheduled for March 30, but the board was granted a 17-day extension by the sports ministry, as the legitimacy of Sumathipala's candidacy was unknown, and members were constitutionally granted two weeks to consider the field of candidates before casting their vote. The board has not yet announced a new date for the elections, but can hold two sets of elections if it feels its members need more time to decide on their vote for the presidency.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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