Sri Lanka news

Jayantha Dharmadasa set to be SLC president

Andrew Fidel Fernando

March 28, 2013

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Jayantha Dharmadasa is set to become the next Sri Lanka Cricket president, after SLC's executive committee rejected all three original candidates, and named Dharmadasa the sole nominee for the position on Thursday. He will run in the April 16 election uncontested, and if elected without incident, will hold the post for two years.

He was SLC's interim president from March 2005 to December 2007, and had expressed interest in contesting this year's elections in February, but had opted out in the week before applications closed. He then renewed his expressions of interest after the possible complications with the other candidates appeared.

MP Thilanga Sumathipala, current president Upali Dharmadasa, and Badureliya Sports Club president Sumith Perera have all had their nominations rejected for various reasons. Sumathipala had had his nomination rejected by the sports ministry earlier in the week due to business interests that were deemed to contravene the sports law.

The nominations of Upali Dharmadasa, who is the brother of Jayantha, and Sumith Perera, were found to be in violation of SLC's constitution, which states a supporting letter from the sports minister must be obtained if candidates for the presidency have not fulfilled specific criteria required of an SLC president. Among these criteria are the requirements that the president must have played first-class cricket, and that he must have sat on the SLC executive committee for at least two years. Upali Dharmadasa had not played first-class cricket, while Sumith Perera had never sat on the executive committee. Neither had obtained the supporting letter from the minister, and thus had their nominations rejected by the executive committee.

Jayantha Dharmadasa did not play first-class cricket, nor had he sat on an executive committee, but he had earlier obtained the letter from the sports minister, before deciding not to contest the election, in February.

Upali Dharmadasa, who sits on the current executive committee, said his brother was the only viable candidate to have put his name forward. "After my nomination and Mr Sumith Perera's nomination was rejected, the executive committee decided to nominate Jayantha. He has got the special permission from the sports minister, so he will be appointed the president after the elections."

SLC's constitution allows the executive committee to make its own nominations if no valid nominations have been received by SLC members.

Jayantha Dharmadasa's sole nomination effectively means uncontested candidates will be elected to the two most powerful positions in SLC for the second consecutive year. Current secretary Nishantha Ranatunga will run uncontested for his position in 2013, as he did in 2012, when Upali Dharmadasa was also elected president uncontested, amid claims of political interference. Last year's board elections were the first in seven years, during which a series of interim committees administered cricket in the country.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

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