Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has been suspended by the ICC with immediate effect due to extensive government interference in the board’s administration.
“The ICC Board met today and determined that Sri Lanka Cricket is in serious breach of its obligations as a member, in particular the requirement to manage its affairs autonomously and ensure that there is no government interference in governance, regulation and/or administration . of cricket in Sri Lanka,” the ICC said in a statement. “The conditions of the suspension will be decided by the ICC Board in due course.”
While the ICC quarterly meetings are scheduled from November 18 to 21 in Ahmedabad, the ICC Board met online on Friday to address the SLC situation. It was learned that the ICC Board was concerned about government interference in the SLC, from governance to finances and even matters related to the national team. It is understood that the next course of action will be decided when the ICC Board meets on November 21.
The ICC’s decision might seem unexpected, but SLC may not have been surprised. It is understood that SLC asked the ICC Board to take this extreme step. The ICC also continues to recognize SLC President Shammi Silva, who is currently in India and attended Friday’s meeting, as an elected representative. He is also likely to be present at the ICC meetings in Ahmedabad as the ICC Board has allowed SLC representatives to be present as observers.
Although the ICC has called the sanction a suspension, it is more of a warning because it wants SLC to operate independently of the government. At the moment, the suspension will not have any immediate serious impact on Sri Lankan cricket. Sri Lanka’s World Cup campaign ended on Thursday and there will be no cricket in the country until December. As far as finances are concerned, the annual disbursement of ICC funds to member boards of directors occurs in January and July.
Since then, Sri Lanka Cricket issues have been debated extensively in the country’s parliament. But as of Friday, when the ICC suspension came, it was the elected SLC board headed by Silva that was running cricket in the country.
Even if the caretaker committee was in power, the appointment of such committees by the government had not led to their suspension by the ICC earlier. The previous occasion when an interim committee existed, from 2014 to 2015, resulted in the ICC placing funds owed to SLC in escrow and demoting SLC to observer status at board meetings. But officially they remained members of the ICC.
The Minister of Sports of Sri Lanka has also had the role of ratifying all Sri Lankan national teams, according to the country’s sports law, in force since 1973.