Writ petition seeks new Constitution for SLC

The Court of Appeal yesterday issued notices on Minister of Sports, President of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and several others, returnable for March 15 in connection with a Writ Petition filed seeking an order to formulate a new constitution for SLC. A Court of Appeal two-judge-bench comprising Justice (President) Arjuna Obeysekera and Mayadunna Corea made this order consequent to a writ petition filed by a group of prominent individuals including former professional cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan.

The petitioners are; Muttiah Muralitharan, Kushil Gunasekera, Sidath Wettimuny, Michael Tissera, Justice (Retd) Saleem Marsoof PC, Dinal Phillips PC, Rienzie Wijetilleke, Thilan Wijesinghe, Vijaya Malalasekera, Ana Punchihewa, Somasundaram Skandakumar and Dr. Palitha Kohona. The petitioners were represented by President’s Counsel Sanjeewa Jayawardena.

The petitioners stated that ad-hoc reforms short of a new Constitution for SLC would be a cosmetic exercise, during these dire times for Cricket in Sri Lanka. The petitioners stated that generic solutions amending the Sports Act of Sri Lanka cannot improve the Governance standards of SLC. Cricket in Sri Lanka is a million dollar business unmatched by any other sport in the country. Cricket is the most popular sport in the country, which has won two World Cups. The petitioners said they are expecting to form an independent committee of governance experts to draft a brand new Constitution for SLC with input from the International Cricket Council (ICC). We also wish to have this new Constitution passed as an Act of Parliament to avoid any dilution or compromises at the hands of vested interests, the petitioners said.

The petitioners further stated that from 1st January 2016 to 31st January 2021, Sri Lanka has lost 118 out of all 194 international matches played, for a dismal winning percentage of 30.92%.

The petitioner said the current constitution of SLC has given birth to a system of politically motivated “Honorary office bearers” who come through a divisive election process.

They further said for a population of 22 million, Sri Lanka has 24 first class clubs. Comparatively, for a population of 25 million, Australia has just six first class clubs and England with a population of 56 million has just 18 first class clubs.

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