Sri Lankan Court Restores Sacked Cricket Board Appeal

On Tuesday, Sri Lanka's Court of Appeal overturned the sports minister's decision to dismiss the country's troubled cricket board. They reinstated the expelled officials temporarily until a complete hearing takes place.
Sri Lankan Cricket Board Appear to Court

The Court accepted a petition filed by board president Shammi Silva, challenging Minister Roshan Ranasinghe’s decision made on Monday to dismiss the Sri Lanka Cricket Board and establish an interim committee.

“The board’s reinstatement is provisional for two weeks until the court reconsiders the case,” a court official stated.

This development is the most recent in an ongoing struggle between Ranasinghe and the cricket board, which stands as the wealthiest sports organization in Sri Lanka, a country facing financial challenges.

Ranasinghe has accused the board of widespread corruption. His decision to remove its members occurred shortly after India defeated the national men’s cricket team at the World Cup.

Sri Lanka Court Decision

Upon the Court’s decision on Tuesday, members of the interim committee, led by former captain Arjuna Ranatunga, were observed leaving the Sri Lanka Cricket offices.

There was no immediate response from Ranatunga, the country’s 1996 World Cup-winning captain, who recently assumed leadership, promising to reform the board and rejuvenate cricket in Sri Lanka.

“Sri Lanka Cricket had developed a reputation as the most corrupt institution in the country,” he stated on Monday. “I aim to alter that perception.”

The government has also established a cabinet committee led by Foreign Minister Ali Sabry to tackle the “pending issues” concerning the cricket board.

ICC Comment on Sri Lankan Cricket Board issue

This week, the International Cricket Council (ICC), the global governing body, has yet to comment on the escalating crisis.

The ICC strictly prohibits political interference and had previously suspended Sri Lanka due to such actions.

The sports minister faced the withdrawal of a three-member panel last month, which was set up to investigate the cricket board, as the ICC deemed it as interference.

Ranasinghe contacted full ICC members on Saturday, seeking their understanding and support.

In letters made public to Sri Lankan media, Ranasinghe highlighted ongoing complaints regarding player discipline, management corruption, financial misconduct, and match-fixing allegations within Sri Lanka Cricket.

“I want to stress that interim measures are solely aimed at establishing principles of good governance,” Ranasinghe stated in the letters.

Sri Lanka hasn’t secured a World Cup victory since 1996, with Ranasinghe attributing the “decline” in standards to the board’s actions.

Former sports minister Harin Fernando implemented stringent anti-corruption laws in 2019, spurred by the ICC’s view of Sri Lanka as one of the most corrupt cricketing nations worldwide.

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