ICC disburses $2.5m to Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Cricket has received $2.5 million from the ICC, to help with the costs of hosting the World Twenty20 that begins on September 18, a board official has said. The $2.5 million includes a string-free grant of $500,000 and a loan of $1 million, as well as $1 million advance payment for ticket sales. The ICC has also guaranteed the SLC an additional $1 million in ticket sales, which will be paid after the tournament ends. The money will be used to upgrade facilities at the Hambantota, Pallekele and R Premadasa stadiums, where the World Twenty20 matches will be held.

“We requested the money to make up the shortfall we were expecting for the tournament,” SLC treasurer Nuski Mohamed said. “The money will pay for new equipment that will be used for the World T20 and beyond.” The required equipment includes new pitch covers, supersoppers and rollers, which had been transported in between venues during previous tournaments but cannot be moved from place to place during the World Twenty20 due to the hectic match schedule. “We want to make each venue self-sufficient,” Mohamed said.

The $2 million for ticket sales is expected to be more than what the heavily-indebted SLC would have received, had no guarantee been put in place, Mohamed said. “The ICC doesn’t want the ticket prices to be high, that’s why they’ve made this guarantee. I don’t think the ticket sales will be $2 million, so we’ve got a good deal.” He added that the loan of $1 million does not have to paid until 2015 and that it has not been borrowed against any collateral. SLC had requested the funds at the annual ICC’s annual conference in Malaysia in June, and had their application approved over the past month. Mohamed said the deal was not facilitated by newly-appointed SLC advisor and former ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat, though the request had been made in the last few days of Lorgat’s tenure at the ICC.

The costs of building two new stadiums in Hambantota and Pallekele and conducting extensive renovations to the R Premadasa Stadium were the main contributors to the SLC’s debt of almost $70 million following the World Cup in 2011. Sri Lanka cricketers went unpaid for eight months last year, and were only paid their dues by the board after the state-owned Bank of Ceylon released 600 million rupees (approx US$5.07 million) to the board.

Twenty-seven matches have been scheduled for the World T20, which will be played over three weeks. Hambantota will host three matches, Pallekele will host nine, and the remaining 15 are set to be played in Colombo. (Cricinfo)