Sri Lanka Cricket’s elections may be postponed by as many as 17 days, the sports ministry said, after a complication with one of the nominees’ applications resulted in a government inquiry to assess whether he can lawfully contest the election.
Member of Parliament Thilanga Sumathipala’s possible links to the betting industry and a newspaper business are being investigated, after complaints that his nomination contravened Sri Lanka’s sports law. The law states that sports administrators contesting an election cannot be involved in either betting, media, or sports goods industries.
Sumathipala has denied that his application is unlawful, while speaking to the local press and on TV channels. He was the joint managing director of a business conglomerate named the Sumathi Group, which owns local newspapers and has links to a betting business named Sporting Star. He has said, however, that the specific businesses, which could be potentially problematic to his application, are among several that are managed entirely by other family members, without his involvement.
“As we don’t yet have the results of the inquiry on Mr. Sumathipala, the sports minister has decided to extend the deadline for the election until April 16,” the sports ministry’s media secretary said. “If the report comes through from the attorney general this week, as we expect, the elections may be held sooner than that, but the April 16 is the final date on which they might happen.”
The SLC annual general meeting, at which the winners of the election will be announced, was originally scheduled to take place on March 30. However, SLC members must have at least two weeks in which to select a nominee and would thus need to wait and find out if Sumathipala is a legitimate candidate, before the voting process begins. The parliament inquiry forwarded its findings to the attorney general on Thursday and the attorney general’s report will determine Sumathipala’s legitimacy as a candidate.
Last year’s SLC elections were the first board elections after seven years, before which a series of interim committees administered cricket in the country.