SLC initiates defamation lawsuit against Sri Lanka's sports minister

SLC initiates defamation lawsuit against Sri Lanka's sports minister

Sri Lanka Cricket has launched a defamation suit against the country’s sports minister, as the dispute over the administration of cricket in the country deepens.

The ICC is currently suspending the SLC, at the request of the SLC officials themselves, in an attempt to convince the Sri Lankan government that the ICC will not tolerate political interference in the board.

Meanwhile, at home, the SLC and the Sports Minister are at war on several fronts; This defamation suit is the latest of them. Aside from this legal action, the Sports Minister has also vowed to fight the suspension order issued by the Sri Lankan courts last Tuesday, which removed the “interim committee” that the minister had appointed and essentially reinstated the officials of the board who had been fired the day before.

“In response to the persistent and damaging defamatory statements made by the Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs, Roshan Ranasinghe, Sri Lanka Cricket has taken a decisive step to protect its reputation and integrity,” a statement from the board read. “Therefore, on November 13, 2023, [SLC officials] jointly filed a defamation suit in the Colombo District Court, seeking damages worth Rs 2.4 billion on behalf of Sri Lanka Cricket.”

The statement does not mention which particular statements the SLC alleges are defamatory, but the comments that have been objected to likely occurred on Saturday, during a lengthy press conference held by the Sports Minister, in which he accused the board of corruption and mismanagement, among other things. other things. The minister has been accusing the junta of corruption for about a year, but he has done so often in parliament, where his speech is protected from defamation suits due to parliamentary privilege.

The SLC also held a press conference on the same day in which the Sports Minister was personally insulted.

Under Sri Lanka’s sports law, in force since 1973, the sports minister has a range of powers over the SLC and other sporting bodies in the country.

SLC is seeking assurances from the highest level of the Sri Lankan government that there will be no further political interventions, which in turn will likely see the ICC’s suspension on the junta lifted.