Media manipulation: SLC hits hard at Sports Minister

November 20, 2023 at 11:54 AM

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has rejected allegations made by the Minister of Sports Roshan Ranasinghe during a media conference held yesterday (Nov 19), calling them baseless and malicious. 

Issuing a statement, the SLC said the Minister’s statements were tainted with malice and appeared to be orchestrated to instigate the public, creating undue influence on pending and emerging matters related to the affairs of the SLC. 

The SLC said it notes with concern that Roshan Ranasinghe, in his capacity as the Minister of Sports, seems to lack a comprehensive understanding of the intricacies surrounding the affairs of the Parent Body and its affiliated members. 

“Particularly noteworthy is the fact that the President of SLC, as a director of the ICC (International Cricket Council) Board of Directors, is dutybound to respect and further the objectives outlined in clause 5 of the Memorandum of Association of the ICC. 

“It is imperative to clarify that each ICC Director, including the President of SLC, has an obligation to apprise the status of SLC affairs when there are reasons to believe that impending actions by the Minister of Sports may jeopardize the fulfilment of obligations set out in the ICC’s Articles of Association,” the SLC said.

SLC further emphasized that it has consistently acted in the best interest of the cricket administration in Sri Lanka, striving to address issues through constructive dialogue, adding that regrettably, these endeavours proved futile, given the continuous and unfounded criticism by the Minister of Sports, aiming to wield unwarranted influence over SLC through the misuse of authority.

“It is noteworthy to mention that despite lacking any vested authority, the Minister of Sports has taken the unprecedented step of communicating with the ICC and its full members, making false claims that SLC officials were involved in corruption and malpractices based on a Special Audit report. However, it is crucial to emphasize that the said audit report did not reveal any corrupt conduct or malpractice, and the ICC and its Members were well aware of the groundlessness of these allegations. 

“Moreover, the SLC believes that the Minister’s continuous appeal to the general public and repeated false allegations of corrupt conduct and malpractice by SLC officials appear to be driven by political motives, aimed at enhancing his public image,” the cricket administration alleged.

The SLC further revealed that as a member of the ICC, it is obligated to comply with its paramount obligation outlined in Article 2.4 (D), which mandates that the SLC must operate autonomously without government interference. Nevertheless, it appears that the Minister of Sports, by contravening these ICC principles, is willfully causing harm and irreparable damage to SLC. 

“SLC wishes to emphasize that the ICC’s decisions are reached during board meetings comprising Directors representing all full member countries. The ICC, being a reputable international organization, approaches decisions with careful consideration, particularly those that could result in the suspension of a member. Contrary to any assertions implying that SLC sought its suspension from the ICC, we want to clarify that such allegations are without merit, and SLC is steadfast in its commitment to earnestly address and lift the suspension imposed by the ICC. 

“While SLC focuses on resolving the suspension issue, it appears that the Minister of Sports is pursuing a different agenda through media manipulation, without pursuing legal avenues to address the allegations. This raises concerns about his intention to influence public opinion and other stakeholders to achieve his objective of taking control of SLC through the misuse of his powers,” it pointed out. 

Calling for a fair and unbiased examination of the facts, the SLC said it remains focused on its mission to uphold the integrity of cricket in Sri Lanka and is confident that the truth will prevail in due course. (NewsWire)