The International Cricket Council (ICC) suspended last Friday, November 10th, the membership of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), with the sanction to take effect immediately.
In a statement, the ICC stated that the suspension is because of the violation made by the SLC organization, primarily when it comes to government interference.
The ICC Board reiterates the standard that all members must adhere to, specifically the need of members to manage their operations autonomously and without any interference or influence from the government.
It was pointed out that Sri Lanka Cricket violated the code by allowing Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Sports, headed by Roshan Ranasinghe, to effectively remove the SLC board and have it replaced by an interim committee.
Government Interference Due to Sri Lanka’s Poor Performance
This move was triggered by the Sri Lankan Cricket team’s poor performance during the World Cup where the country only placed ninth and won only two of possible nine games.
Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe called out the SLC during a speech made to parliament last November 3, calling the organization “traitorous and corrupt” as well as encouraging the board to vacate their posts.
Due to this, SLC secretary Mohan de Silva tendered his resignation and all board members were removed, including SLC President Shammi Silva.
A new committee headed by Arjuna Ranatunga, a former World Cup champion and former caption of the Sri Lankan Cricket team, was then put into place.
Appeal and Other Controversies
However, the replacement of the board was stayed by the Court of Appeals for two weeks after Shammi Silva appealed to the courts regarding the dismissal.
Aside from the SLC’s poor performance during the World Cup, there have also been allegations of corruption within the organization, particularly those made by Ranasinghe during his statement.
Allegedly, 2 million USD from their accounts have been transferred under questionable conditions, a claim that the SLC vehemently denies.
In a statement, the SLC declared that it has been a long-standing practice to transfer funds from sponsorships and other sources, usually stored in USD accounts, to local currency accounts when it is to be used, especially when paying suppliers and other fees.
The Suspension Still Stands
Despite the SLC still being in charge of due to the two-week stay order, the ICC still upheld that a gross violation against autonomy had been committed.
The conditions of the suspension will be decided upon and released by the Council at a later date.
Sri Lanka is scheduled to host the ICC Under-19 Men’s Cricket World Cup in January of 2024. How the SLC’s suspension by the ICC will affect this is still unknown.