HomeAsiaSri Lanka Cricket suspended by ICC amid governance crisis

Sri Lanka Cricket suspended by ICC amid governance crisis

Sri Lanka Cricket suspended by ICC amid governance crisis

The Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) national governing body was suspended from the International Cricket Council (ICC) as of November 10 due to government interference in its affairs.

The decision, reached during an ICC board meeting, stems from SLC’s serious breach of membership obligations, specifically in preventing governmental interference in cricket governance and administration.

The sanction follows a period of turmoil in Sri Lanka’s cricket administration, triggered by the disappointing performance of the men’s team in the current 2023 ICC ODI Cricket World Cup in India, where Sri Lanka failed to advance to the knockout stages.

Responding to the team’s on-field struggles, Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe took drastic action earlier this week by dismissing the entire SLC board. However, attempts to install an interim committee were swiftly overturned by the country’s legal system, reinstating the sacked board within 24 hours. The Sri Lankan parliament has since been engaged in debates regarding the governance and administration of cricket in the country.

In an online meeting, the ICC board conveyed its decision to suspend SLC, with the next board meeting on November 21 expected to determine the subsequent course of action. The ICC emphasised that SLC failed to fulfill its obligation to manage its affairs independently and prevent government interference in Sri Lanka’s cricket governance.

All facets of SLC’s operations, including governance, finance, and national team selection, are now under ICC scrutiny for potential government involvement. The Sri Lankan government has a historical role in meddling with national sports teams, with the sports minister approving each national team squad composition since 1973.

The suspension marks a significant development as SLC becomes the first full ICC member to face such action since 2019 when Zimbabwe Cricket received a similar punishment for government interference. During its suspension, ZC had its ICC funding halted and all ratified cricket activities in the country were brought to a standstill.

Sri Lanka finished in ninth place after completing all its matches in the 10-team round-robin World Cup group stage – winning just two matches – and the suspension adds further challenges.

The ICC’s decision comes at a critical juncture, with Sri Lanka slated to host the ICC Under-19 Men’s Cricket World Cup in January and February next year.

Image credit: https: Nazly Ahmed

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