Proposed sports law: Country first or ban

The Sports Ministry is to introduce amendments to the sports law which will give sporting bodies the authority to impose a temporary ban on national sportsmen who refuse to represent the country.

Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage told the Colombo Gazette that the issue is not about a sportsman signing or not signing a contract with the sports body but ensuring he or she puts the country first when needed.

He said that the need to amend the sports law arose following issues mostly faced by the national rugby and cricket teams.

The minister did not specify the issue but it is well known that a crisis arose in the national rugby team after Yoshitha Rajapaksa, the son of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, was appointed captain for the team at the Asian Five Nations Division one tournament in the Philippines last April.

A group of senior players refused to take part in the tournament as a result of the appointment and Yoshitha Rajapaksa later termed the boycott as a treacherous act.

Meanwhile cricketer Lasith Malinga had refused to sign a contract with the Sri Lankan cricket board citing low payments.

The Sri Lankan cricket board named Malinga among the top players who will be offered contracts to represent the national team.

Malinga had however reportedly asked for a tailor made contract which the cricket board had refused to agree to.


(By Easwaran Rutnam for the Colombo Gazette)