ICC’s Bold Move to Curb Government Hand in Sri Lanka Cricket

ICC's Bold Move to Curb Government Hand in Sri Lanka Cricket

In an unexpected move, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has issued a “suspension” to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), labeling it a serious breach of its obligations as a member. The ICC aims to curb government interference in SLC’s operations, ranging from administration to finance and matters concerning the national team.

Although termed a “suspension,” it currently acts more as a warning, with no immediate serious impact on Sri Lankan cricket. The timing seems less pressing as Sri Lanka’s World Cup campaign concluded recently, and there are no cricket events in the country until December. Additionally, no ICC funds are slated for SLC until January.

The ICC board convened online on Friday to address the situation, recognizing SLC president Shammi Silva as the elected representative. Silva, present at the meeting, is likely to attend the ICC’s quarterly meetings in Ahmedabad as an observer. The ICC’s decision awaits further action and conditions will be determined in the coming weeks.

This move follows Sri Lanka’s sports minister Roshan Ranasinghe dismissing the SLC board and appointing an interim committee led by Arjuna Ranatunga. However, Sri Lanka’s courts reinstated the board, leading to a standoff. The ICC, concerned about government interference, has taken a stance not seen since Zimbabwe Cricket’s suspension in 2019.

While government-appointed interim committees had not triggered suspension before, the ICC had, in the past, placed funds in escrow and demoted SLC to observer status. Sri Lanka’s sports minister, in accordance with the nation’s sports law since 1973, holds the role of ratifying national teams.

As debates about SLC’s affairs continue in Sri Lanka’s parliament, the ICC’s cautious approach distinguishes this case from Zimbabwe’s, where all cricket activities were halted. The ICC’s decision underscores the importance of member autonomy and signals a watchful eye on government involvement in cricket governance.

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