Arjuna fires away against alleged corruption in cricket


by Saman Indrajith

An Interim Cricket Board should be appointed to protect the sport in the country, said Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Arjuna Ranatunga in Parliament yesterday.

Taking direct aim at MP Tilanga Sumathipala, Ranatunga said that the turf accountants too should be prevented from joining Cricket administration to develop the sport in the country.

He made these observations joining the debate on three regulations under the Sports Law moved by Telecommunication, Foreign Employment and Sports Minister Harin Fernando.

Ranatunga said that it was commendable to bring in laws to prevent the faults attached to sports including corruption, betting, match fixing etc. "In the past I pointed out such faults in relation to the sport to the leaders and Sports Ministers," Minister Ranatunga said. "But none took measures to ban them."

He said that the situation with the sports before 2015 was pathetic. He added that although he thought that the sports would be developed after 2015 but it wasn’t so. It only happened after those persons who were defeated at the General election were appointed to the Parliament by way of the national list.

He said that there were laws to prevent the turf accountants coming into administer the sports activities which had become an obstacle to the development of Sports. But the Sports Ministers had not attended to them. He also said that earlier only a chartered accountant could be appointed as the Treasurer of Sri Lanka Cricket. But later the laws were amended enabling even an accounts clerk to be appointed to the position. However, thereafter much corruption occurred after appointing a unqualified person. The present Sports Minister met the International Cricket Councils officials where he was shown footage related to match fixing.

"We saw what happened to the Zimbabwe Cricket match with Sri Lanka which the latter had 70 percent chance to win," Minister Ranatunga said. "However Zimbabwe achieved a massive victory. The gamblers then earned unpredictably. These are the matters that we have to investigate into."

He said that match fixing had come even to the level of cricket clubs. By now two cricket clubs had got involved in match fixing.

Thilanga Sumathipala(UPFA):- "I have no knowledge of such a report. One who is involved in corruption is using parliament privileges to cover them up."

Sports Minister Harin Fernando: We have received such a report from the International Cricket Council. We have been instructed to use it in legal action.

Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said that the International Cricket Council did not send such a report baselessly. "So inquire into this report and take it before the Law. There were allegations against myself and Aravinda de Silva then and they too were investigated.

The COPE report was issued. The Corrupted persons joined the COPE to cover the corruption. If we need to protect Cricket we have to appoint an Interim Cricket Board.

Ranatunga alleged that when Dayasiri Jayasekara was the Sports Minister a Club in Hettipola had been granted Rs 120 million to develop a playground. However that club was not even registered at Sri Lanka Cricket. It seemed that it was a bribe.

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