ICC suspends Sri Lanka cricket due to government’s interference

ICC suspends Sri Lanka cricket due to government's interference

ICC suspends Sri Lanka cricket due to government's interference

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By: Pune Pulse

November 12, 2023

Pune: The International Cricket Council (ICC) has taken the decision to suspend Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) due to significant government interference in the administration of the board. While the ICC refers to this action as a ‘suspension’ it serves as a warning to deter future government involvement in SLC affairs.

Currently, the suspension is not expected to have an immediate and severe impact on Sri Lankan cricket. This is because Sri Lanka’s World Cup campaign has already concluded, and there are no cricket events scheduled in the country until December. Furthermore, no ICC funds are scheduled to be allocated to SLC until January.

According to reports, SLC vice-president Ravin Wickramaratne informed that as a full member, they have the right to approach the ICC. It is believed that the SLC had requested the suspension to demonstrate to the Sri Lankan government that the ICC would not tolerate any further interference. The government must provide a guarantee of no interference, or else the suspension will result in Sri Lanka being unable to play cricket, as was the case with Zimbabwe in 2019 when they were suspended by the ICC due to government interference.

The ICC board convened online on Friday to discuss the SLC situation, which involves government interference in various aspects of the organization, including administration, finance, and the national team. While the quarterly meetings are scheduled for November 18-21 in Ahmedabad, the next steps will be determined during the ICC board meeting on November 21. Despite the suspension of SLC, the ICC still recognizes Shammi Silva as the SLC president and has permitted SLC representatives to attend the upcoming meetings in an observer capacity. Silva is believed to be at the heart of the ICC’s decision to suspend SLC.

The ICC has declared that Sri Lanka Cricket has failed to fulfill its obligations as a Member, specifically regarding managing its affairs independently and preventing government interference in the governance, regulation, and administration of cricket in Sri Lanka. The ICC Board will determine the terms of the suspension at a later date. This decision comes after Sri Lanka’s sports minister Roshan Ranasinghe dismissed the SLC board and replaced it with an interim committee led by Arjuna Ranatunga, only to have the board reinstated by the courts through a 14-day stay order on the gazette that dissolved the board.

Following the ICC suspension on Friday, the elected SLC board led by Silva has taken charge of Sri Lanka Cricket. This has sparked extensive debates in the country’s parliament regarding the affairs of the cricket board. It is worth noting that previous appointments of interim committees by the government did not lead to ICC suspension. However, during the period of an interim committee from 2014 to 2015, the ICC withheld funds due to the SLC and downgraded their status to an observer in board meetings, while still maintaining their official membership in the ICC. 

According to Sri Lanka’s sports law, the country’s sports minister is responsible for approving all national teams. This law has been in effect since 1973. Recently, the International Cricket Council (ICC) suspended Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) for violating regulations, making it the second full member to be suspended in the past four years. However, unlike Zimbabwe Cricket, where all cricket activities were immediately halted and funding was frozen, the ICC will proceed with caution in Sri Lanka’s case.