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The government has taken over the management of Sri Lankan cricket, preventing the annual general election planned this weekend from going ahead. Jeevan Kumaratunga, the sports minister, justified the move on financial and administrative grounds, claiming "wastages" and "no accountability".
An interim committee was appointed to look after the board's management. Jayantha Dharmadasa, the head of Nawaloka Hospitals and chairman of Sri Lanka Film Association, was appointed as the chairman. Dharmadasa contested unsuccessfully for the board presidency in 2000.
Other members of the committee included Tryphon Mirando as secretary and Kumar Weerasuriya. Mirando is a director at Janashakthi Insurance and a former board member. Weerasuriya is a vice-president at National Development Bank. Rienze Wijetilleke, interim chairman back in 1999, Adel Hassim and Damien Fernando were also appointed.
The dissolution of the board was been widely expected after the government's decision to force Thilanga Sumathipala, the board's appointed ambassador for international affairs who was standing uncontested for a fifth term as president on Sunday, to leave an important ICC meeting last week in Delhi.
Sumathipala's last-minute replacement indicated a shift in thinking within the government which had previously appeared supportive of Sumathipala, the main power broker within Sri Lankan cricket since the 1996 World Cup, a triumph that ignited a fight for control of the board.
No specific reasons were given for the dissolution but Kumaratunga told The Island newspaper: "I have had so many complaints saying that there are various financial mismanagements at Sri Lanka Cricket and this time when I got the accounts I went through them very carefully and found out everything was not right. Their have been a lot of wastages and their seems to be no accountability."
The outgoing executive committee, headed by Mohan de Silva, were considering a legal challenge to the minister's decision and were expected to hold a press conference shortly to respond to the minister's decision. The new chairman, meanwhile, is expected to hold a press conference on Monday after his return to the island from a business trip.
The major issues needing to be addressed will include the finalisation of the team sponsorship bid process, the re-drafting of annual player contracts, the future of coach John Dyson, a possible legal fight over Pallakelle Stadium and the re-building of tsunami-damaged Galle International Stadium.
A possible far-reaching constitutional change designed to ensure a long-term solution to the board's problems may also be considered by the minister. The future of Cricket-Aid, the board's tsunami disaster fund headed by Sumathipala, is also unclear.
Interim committees were previously appointed in 1999 and 2001 to takeover Sumathipala-led administrations.