Crunch test for SLC Presidential aspirants

Published : 12:59 am  January 9, 2019 | No comments so far |  | 


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By Shehan Daniel

Counter-objections from candidates contesting the still-scheduled Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) elections will be heard on Friday (11), sources told the  yesterday.

Despite rumours of a possible postponement, the elections have not yet been moved from its scheduled date of February 7, and with the election process still in effect candidates who have had objections raised against them have been asked to present themselves for a hearing on Friday (11).

The top most post, for President of SLC, is slated to be a contest between three former Vice-Presidents of the previous executive committee, K. Mathivanan, Mohan de Silva and Jayantha Dharmadasa, although it is more likely to be reduced to a two-horse race.

A fourth candidate, Shammi Silva, was also nominated but only as a contingency in the event that de Silva cannot contest, the Daily Mirror learns.

While objections have been raised by rival parties only against the candidacy of Mathivanan and de Silva, the  reliably learns that Dharmadasa will have to clear queries raised by the elections committee if his nomination is to be green-lit.

The query is related to Dharmadasa not fulfilling Article 7(f) of the SLC Constitution, which requires that nominees for any post other than Hon. Secretary and Hon. Assistant Secretary must have represented an affiliate or controlling club or a member cricket association in any major tournament conducted or approved by SLC.

Dharmadasa has been notified of this query in a letter dated January 2, which the  has seen, signed by Justice P. W. D. C. Jayathilake who is the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Cricket Elections Committee. 

Meanwhile, sources close to the Mathivanan camp, which includes Arjuna and Nishantha Ranatunga, said that they had filed objections against de Silva based on him being a part of the 2005 SLC committee that was dissolved by then Sports Minister Jeevan Kumaratunga.

In a Gazette Extraordinary Notification, number 1385/29 issued on March 24, 2005, the Minister had suspended the registration of Sri Lanka Cricket, effectively dissolving the executive committee that was led by de Silva, in terms of Section 32(c) of the Sports Law No. 25 of 1973 for non-compliance with its regulations.

Section 32(c) of the Sports Law states “The Minister may refuse registration, or suspend or cancel the registration, of a National Association of Sports for failing to carry out its duties and functions.”
Kumaratunga’s Gazette also stated that the dissolved committee had caused a loss of more than US$ 3.2 million dollars due to ineffective and improper financial management.

“According to Article 4(g) of Section 5 of the Sports Law that was Gazetted by then Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera, in 2016 we believe that de Silva is not eligible to contest the election, and the same goes for Ravin Wickramaratne and Bandula Dissanayake who are also contesting from de Silva’s camp,” the source told the .

Article 4(f) of Section 5 of the Sports Law states, “A person shall be disqualified from being elected or otherwise to hold or continue to hold any paid or unpaid office or to hold any paid or unpaid post or to be a member of a Committee of any National Association of Sports or to be nominee of an affiliated club or organization in a National Association of Sports, if :- (g) he has been an office bearer of the Committee of any National Association of Sports in respect of which, a notice has been issued under section 32 of the Sports Law for violation of the provisions of the section 32 of the Sports Law.”

Wickramaratne served as an Assistant Secretary, while Dissanayake was the Chairman of the Tournament Committee.

Meanwhile, a source from de Silva’s camp said they had objected to the nominations of Mathivanan and Nishantha Ranatunga, while also saying they contested the applicability of Sports Law Article 5.4(g).
“There is no mention that this applies retrospectively, so we believe that it applies from the date that it has been brought into effect,” the source said. “Also our argument is this gazette had to be rescinded in order to hold the subsequent elections.”

The Sports Law and subsequent amendments however remains silent and/or is not specific on the retrospective nature of the article however, and could be open to interpretation by the elections committee.

“Mathivanan became an unpopular figure during his previous tenure as he was acting in an unsound way, shouting at people unnecessarily. Also with his impaired vision, we don’t think he is fit to hold a position,” the source said.
“He talks about us being corrupt and exposing us, but if there was corruption he was a party to it as a signatory,” the source also claimed.

They had also raised objections with the nomination of Nishantha Ranatunga, who they say was part of a committee dissolved by Navin Dissanayake in 2015, with his dual roles as SLC Secretary and CEO of Carlton Sports Network being flagged as a conflict of interest by a Parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises.