An interim committee to run Sri Lanka cricket that came into power yesterday is under scrutiny for breaching the ICC constitution. A nine-man team led by former Test opener Sidath Wettimuny, appointed by sports minister Navin Dissanayake, could run foul of the ICC's stance on government interference in cricketing affairs, the penalties for which include suspension of the board in question.
The committee was established because the posts held by the existing office-bearers, led by president Jayantha Dharmadasa, had become null and void. The laws governing all sports bodies in the country require annual elections to be held on or before March 31. SLC's elections, however, were postponed until the end of April due to the World Cup, which ended on March 29.
Dissanayake said he was in talks with the ICC to explain his stance after SLC received a letter from chief executive David Richardson that stated "such action [sports minister appointing an interim committee] could put Sri Lanka Cricket in breach of Article 2.9 (B) of ICC's Articles of Association which states as follows: "Where a government interferes in the administration of cricket by a Member, including but not limited to interference in operational matters, the selection and management of teams, the appoint of coaches or support personnel, the Executive Board shall have the power to suspend or refuse to recognise that Member…."
"The ICC is not happy with interim committees, but we as a sovereign country have the power under the legislation to appoint one," Dissanayake said "We will justify our stand with the ICC as we have grounds to appoint such a committee. Questions of suspension and all that are not serious issues, but we are addressing that. We are waiting to have talks with the chairman N Srinivasan.
"We have already spoken to CEO David Richardson and we will be speaking to N Srinivasan today or tomorrow. After that myself, Sidath and a member of the interim committee will go and meet Srinivasan personally. We have a desire to go forward without any problems. We've had cordial relations with ICC. We have not got into confrontation with them at any time and whatever issues that have come up have been dealt through discussions.
Dissanayake was confident an amicable resolution can be found. "We have laws governing our country and according to the laws of the country I have appointed an interim committee," he said. "We are prepared to have discussions with the ICC and if they have any issues with it we are prepared to talk it out. As far as we are concerned I don't see that we have a problem."
He said that more than half of Sri Lanka cricket's history has been under interim committees. "It's not something new, the appointing of interim committees," he said. SLC was run by a series of nine government-appointed interim committees between 2004 and 2012. Though the board's recent history has been characterised by government intervention, the ICC has not formally penalised the board so far, nor officially threatened suspension.