ICC to conditionally release funds for SLC

CRICKET-SRI-PRESSThe ICC and Sri Lanka Cricket are closer to overcoming their stand-off after the ICC made a conditional commitment to release further funds to SLC, while Sri Lanka’s sports minister pledged to hold board elections in January next year, SLC officials have said.

Though the ICC has said it will release enough of the escrowed funds to ensure SLC can function as normal, they have maintained that SLC does not have voting rights at the ICC at present – a stance which SLC is protesting. The latest discussions were held in Dubai last week, at a meeting sports minister Navin Dissanayake and interim committee chairman Sidath Wettimuny described as “cordial”.

“The ICC have agreed to release the funds on a certain basis,” Wettimuny said. “They said they do not want to jeopardise Sri Lanka Cricket in any way. They wanted to find out what our financial requirements are until the end of the year, and they’ll look at those cashflows and release the funds.”

The ICC had already agreed to release 2.5% of the escrowed amount ten days prior to this latest meeting.

Minister Dissanayake had previously suggested the interim committee would run cricket for one year, but a commitment to hold elections sooner appears to have come partly as a result of last week’s meeting with the ICC.

“Some headway has been made with regard to resolving the concerns of the ICC and the minister and officials of the SLC interim committee are confident that the concerns of the ICC vis-a-vis SLC will be fully resolved in the very near future,” a sports ministry release said.

However, it may be some time before SLC’s rights are reinstated at the ICC. In April, SLC treasurer Nuski Mohamed had been asked to leave an ICC board meeting, after he refused to attend it purely as an observer. SLC’s role at the ICC may be similarly diminished for some time, though discussions are ongoing.

“There is absolutely no doubt about our full membership – that’s not in question,” Wettimuny said. “The only thing is, as an interim committee, because their constitution has changed, they think that we’ll need to come in as just an observer. We told them that that is not in their constitution to do that. There is a dialogue going on. There is nothing drastically out of order.”

Wettimuny reiterated that progress was being made between the two administrative bodies.”We had a very cordial meeting with the ICC. Their concerns stem from some stakeholders writing in and saying there was chaos and so on. The ICC had legitimate concerns. The minister explained why he had to appoint an interim committee. He said it was for a short time, and now he has said that our committee will be dissolved by January, after which he will go in for elections.” (Cricinfo)