September 22, 2019
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    Sports Minister to ban persons linked to betting from cricket

    August 23, 2019

    Sports Minister Harin Fernando said he would put out a gazette notification amending some rules and regulations in the Sports Law banning anyone who is linked to betting from holding any portfolio in cricket administration.The minister said that there is no room for gamblers in sports administration and said, “We are going to put out a gazette notification to make amendments to some rules and regulations concerning sports in Sri Lanka. The ICC has clearly mentioned that whoever is linked to betting is disqualified from holding any portfolio in cricket administration. We have issued a gazette notification to prevent such activities in accordance with our law. If a family member is involved in betting, that person cannot hold any administrative position in sports.”

    Speaking further at a media conference held at the Ministry of Sports yesterday, Minister Fernando said, “I have come to know that certain officials behaved in a very mean and ugly manner by using filthy words to rebuke each other at the Executive Committee meeting of Sri Lanka Cricket. They have even scoffed me in a very bad manner. I don’t take these insults seriously because I know that I am doing the right thing.”The minister said that his ministry will have to take action with regard to the comments made at the SLC ExCo meeting.

    “We will investigate why the officials at that meeting have derided the minister, the ministry secretary and also see if decisions taken at the meeting were under duress of one individual,” the minister said.When the media inquired whether this gazette notification is issued in order to curtail the activities of Thilanga Sumathipala who is an immediate past president of SLC and have been accused of being involved in the betting industry, Minister Fernando said that he holds no personal grudges against anyone.

    “We have inquired from the ICC if Thilanga Sumathipala can hold any portfolio at ICC and they have said that he cannot. If he cannot hold any position in the ICC, he cannot hold any position in Sri Lanka Cricket also,” said the minister.He also stated as the Minister of Sports, he has the full authority to interfere in the affairs of Sri Lanka Cricket. He said certain private organizations are involved big time in decision-making in Sri Lanka Cricket and that there is a huge crisis in telecasting cricket matches.

    “I met the ICC president Shashank Manohar in Nagpur and discussed about this in detail. Then I appointed a committee. The contracts of some employees and officials attached to Sri Lanka Cricket were not extended. If Sri Lanka Cricket functions as a private organization, I must interfere to stop it. I get a lot of complaints regarding this,” he said.The minister said that already a constitution for cricket has been submitted to parliament.”I get a lot of threats when I do all this. But I am continuing with them successfully.”

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