Difficulties procuring insurance, as well as logistical and security concerns, were some of the issues raised by sponsors and broadcasters that led to the Asia Cup being shifted from Sri Lanka to the United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka Cricket has revealed.
“They felt that the situation in Sri Lanka was not conducive to garner the confidence of the stakeholders,” SLC secretary Mohan de Silva said in a media briefing.
“Not only the member countries, but a tournament of this magnitude requires other stakeholders, like the broadcasters, sponsors, etc. What they felt was that the negative publicity shown all over the world, with the petrol queues and all that, didn’t help our cause.”
That “negative publicity” refers to the economic crisis currently engulfing Sri Lanka, where a combination of high debt and low foreign exchange, compounded by poor fiscal management by the Sri Lankan government, has paved the way for a fuel and food shortage. This resulted in months-long protests calling for the resignation of Gotabaya Rajapaksa as President. He eventually ceded to these demands last month, after throngs of protestors converged upon Colombo. The appointment of Ranil Wickremesinghe as his replacement, however, has failed to turn public sentiment.It was this tense country state that had made it nigh on impossible for security clearance to be granted for multiple broadcast crews to enter the country.
“Sponsors were finding it difficult to get insured, and the security clearance for broadcast crews to enter Sri Lanka was also an issue. The delegates who wanted to come from the other countries also weren’t prepared to come,” explained SLC CEO Ashley de Silva.
Further, while hosting bilateral tours against Australia and Pakistan went off without a hitch – even with protests reaching their peak during the second Test against Australia, and protestors a frequent presence outside the Galle stadium – it is understood that the logistics of providing accommodation, security and transport for one foreign team at a time, was a considerably more straightforward task than doing so for the multiple stakeholders involved in a tournament such as the Asia Cup.It didn’t help Sri Lanka’s cause that the Lanka Premier League, which was supposed to begin in the first week of August, was also postponed due to the current situation; it will now be held in November.
“The sponsors of the franchises had concerns about coming to Sri Lanka. A sponsorship deal not only entails sponsoring the side, but then the sponsors also need to be able to travel around the country freely. Sponsors come to give prominence to their brands, and they felt that at this time this sort of tournament would not give them the necessary mileage.”
That said, despite all these concerns, many of the Asian Cricket Council member nations had largely been on board with Sri Lanka going ahead with hosting the tournament – a sentiment backed up by how late this decision was left – however the key issue none of the boards were able to overlook was the potentially “huge financial losses” had the tournament been cancelled. This was down to the fact that the Asia Cup is a tournament that helps the ACC drum up funds for their development work – funds that are shared among member countries.
“This would have been done a long time ago if it was some other country. All the other countries were very supportive of having the tournament here, which is why they kept on delaying a final decision.
“But they felt a tournament of this magnitude, looking at the current situation, could not have been played here. They didn’t want to take any chances, because if the tournament got cancelled, all the members would have had to fund ACC for the next two years.”
There is, though, a silver lining of sorts for SLC, who have retained the tournament’s hosting rights, even though it is now to be held in the UAE. What this means is that SLC will still receive a substantial sum from the ACC, to the tune of roughly $ 6.5 million.Ashley de Silva detailed the expenditure, with the key takeaway being that the UAE will be using revenue from ticket sales to pay for expenses related to the tournament, whereas had Sri Lanka hosted it they would have used $ 2.5 million disbursed as a “hosting fee” to pay for the same and kept ticket sales as profits. Sri Lanka, however, will still receive the “hosting fee,” as well a percentage of ticket sales.
“Generally the revenue generated from the broadcast and ground rights goes to the ACC, who at the end of the tournament distributes these funds to the member countries that participate in this tournament. That is between 2-3 million, based on the profit which the tournament generates.
“Of the rest of the funds, part of it is given to the host of the tournament. From this we’re supposed to provide the accommodation and conduct the whole tournament in the country. That comes as hosts fee. And the hosts what they normally get is only the ticket money – this is the profit that the host board makes.
“So this $ 2.5 million would have gone towards accommodation for the players, officials, and also for logistical expenses related to the tournament. We would have ended up making a maximum of about $200,000-300,000. On top of that we would have also made some revenue from the ticket sales. And then there’s the distribution fund that all the teams would have got.
“Now, the UAE will only get the ticket sales, which is what they will use to conduct the entire tournament. We [Sri Lanka] will still get the host fee. In addition to that, the UAE has also promised to give us another $ 1.5 million from the ticket sales.”
While this is financially more than what SLC would have been making had Sri Lanka hosted the tournament, the country as a whole will lose out on crucial tourism revenue.
“If you look at it, we would have created a lot of awareness about the country and brought in a lot of tourism into the country, if the situation was normal and we held the tournament here. So economically the country also would have benefitted. But nevertheless, the funds we’re generating now will also end up coming into Sri Lanka.”
There were also two T20Is against India that had been earmarked, likely after the Asia Cup, which are now off the table.The Asia Cup is set to take place from August 27 to September 11.
Mihiranga, Charuka shine as Richmond secure quarter-final place
Under 17 Division I Cricket
by Reemus Fernando
Spinner Pubudu Mihiranga produced a five wicket haul to lead Richmond to 60 runs victory over Sri Devananda in the Under 17 Division I cricket pre-quarter-final played at Ambalangaoda on Sunday. Richmond were in danger of missing the quarter-final berth after Ravindu de Silva triggered a middle order collapse to restrict them to 166 runs. But Mihiranga’s counter attack helped them earn the crucial victory as they restricted the home team to 106 runs.
Chasing a target of 167 runs to win, Mayura Malshan, Lahiru Kavinda and Sithum Vihanga were the only batsmen to reach double figures as Devananda were bowled out in the 25th over. After doing well in the field, their batsmen failed to back up, with five batsmen getting out without scoring. For Richmond, Thamindu Pradeeptha and Yuri Koththigoda did early damage before Mihiranga came up with his impressive spell to complete a five wicket haul. Mihiranga’s 8.5 overs included four maidnes and he gave away just 23 runs for his five wickets.
Deciding to bat, Charuka Gunasekara stood out with a valuable knock of 81 runs (94 balls, 14x4s). With Gunasekara going great guns Richmond were looking at posting a challenging total. But Ravindu de Silva had other ideas.
Introduced to the attack as the ninth bowler, de Silva rattled the Richmond batting line up with a five wicket haul. Richmond were 133 for two wickets at the end of the 30th over but their last eight wickets could add only 33 runs during the remainder of the innings as Ravindu De Silva joined Sithum de Silva to contained the formidable line up to 166 runs.
Sithum who completed his quota of ten overs gave away just 19 runs for his three wickets. Ravindu bowled seven overs taking five wickets for 19 runs, while Mayura Malshan and Sithum Vihanga too bowled economical spells. Malshan’s seven overs (7.2) cost him just 12 runs. In the other two pre-quarter-final matches played on Saturday, Revata College, Balapitiya pulled off an exciting three runs victory over St. Thomas’, Matara and Trinity scored two wickets victory over D.S. Senanayake.
Richmond 166 all out 43.2 overs (Helith Edirisinghe 19, Charuka Gunasekara 81, Extras 24; Sithum de Silva 3/19, Ravindu de Silva 5/19)
Sri Devananda 106 all out in 24.5 overs (Mayura Malshan 28, Lahiru Kavinda 30; Pubudu Mihiranga 5/23, Yuri Koththigoda 2/11)
Results of the Matches played on Saturday
Revata beat St. Thomas’ Matara by three runs at Matara
Revata 140 all out in 49.1 overs (Kaveesha Mendis 59, Malith Mihiranga 23; Loshitha Diksith 3/26, Manuga Yonal 2/22, Pesandu Sanjan 2/14)
St. Thomas’ 137 all out in 37.5 overs (Abdul Majid 26, Manuga Yonal 23, Sanju Dilshan 21; Kaveesha Mendis 2/32, Malith Mihiranga 2/18, Shehan Madusanka 3/18, Purna Ranyuru 3/18)
Trinity beat DSS by one wicket at Mount Lavinia
DSS 144 all out in 45.3 overs (Shanal Binuksha 23, Sohan Senarathyapa 39, Chanul de Alwis 20, Extras 24; Malith Rathnayake 2/25, Sweaph Anurajeewa 2/24)
Trinity 145 for 8 in 49.5 overs (Sweaph Anurajeewa 27, Jayavi Liyanagama 32; Akidha Weerasuriya 2/19, Randisha Bandaranayake 2/22)
Man United’s David de Gea after Brentford defeat: Last season’s horror show still in our minds
David de Gea has said Manchester United are struggling to get over last season’s traumatic campaign and added the hangover is contributing to a nightmare start to life under Erik ten Hag.Ten Hag is the first United manager in more than 100 years to lose his first two games in charge after back-to-back defeats to Brighton and Brentford.
The 4-0 humiliation at the Gtech Community Stadium on Saturday left Ten Hag’s team bottom of the Premier League table and De Gea said the dismal end to last season, when United lost seven of their final 12 games, is playing a part.
“It was a difficult season and probably it’s still in our minds,” he said. “When something goes wrong people get panicky, it’s difficult. But we have to learn, we have a new manager, some new players, we need to be more positive, keep learning and improve.”
All four goals at Brentford were conceded in the opening 35 minutes, prompting Ten Hag to replace Luke Shaw, Lisandro Martinez and Fred at half-time. The Dutchman said afterwards he wanted to change his entire starting lineup following a disastrous first 45 minutes and De Gea said the United boss relayed his anger to the players at the break.David de Gea endured a miserable afternoon as Manchester United were thrashed at Brentford. Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
“He said it was unacceptable, what we were doing on the pitch,” De Gea said. “Nothing else to be honest. It was horrible, then some tactical things. It was horrible from us.
“I must take responsibility, I think I cost two goals to the team today. That first goal cannot happen. As a team we should react much better than we did, but I think I cost the team two goals.”
It won’t get any easier for United with Liverpool their next opponents at Old Trafford on Aug. 22. United haven’t beaten Liverpool in a league game since 2018 and the last three fixtures against Jurgen Klopp’s side have ended in three defeats and a combined score of 13-2.
“It’s about winning games,” De Gea added. “As soon as we win one game, two games, we’re going to start feeling better and more positive.
“We’re training really well, people are training hard, everyone is giving everything, to be honest, but then in the games we are not performing. For sure we’re going to learn, we have to learn and we have to play much better.”
Godamanne retires as Sri Lanka secure Group III promotion
Sri Lanka registered a 2-0 victory over Iraq to earn promotion to Group III as they won the vital encounter in the Asia Oceania Zone Group IV Event, which was also the final Davis Cup match for Harshana Godamanna at the SLTA clay courts in Colombo on Saturday.
In the singles Yasitha de Silva beat Abdullah Ali Hatem 6-4, 6-2 and Harshana Godamanna beat Adel Mustafa Al-Saedi 6-3, 6-2.
Godamanna who represented Sri Lanka for 20 years made his retirement from the game a memorable one. He was presented with a plaque with many pictures of him in action and his parents in appreciation. The presentation was made by Iqbal bin Issack president of SLTA.
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