COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s parliament unanimously asked the country’s cricket board to resign on Thursday after accusing it of unprecedented corruption involving millions of dollars. It was the latest development in a crisis involving the cricket board—the richest sporting organisation in the bankrupt island country—that came to a head after Sri Lanka’s humiliating World Cup defeat by India last week.
The move is not binding but adds to pressure on the board, which the sports minister sacked on Monday only for the Court of Appeal to restore it the following day. Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa moved a resolution asking Sri Lanka Cricket to step down immediately and the government agreed in a rare show of unity in the fractured legislature.
“This is a historic resolution that sends a message to the world that Sri Lankan legislators have united to defend cricket and restore the integrity of the game,” Premadasa told the cricket-mad country’s parliament. “We want the corrupt board to go.”
A board source said they would seek legal opinion before reacting to the resolution. Sports minister Roshan Ranasinghe has accused the board of widespread corruption. He sacked the elected members on Monday and replaced them with an interim committee headed by former skipper Arjuna Ranatunga.
The appeal court restored the original board for two weeks on Tuesday pending a full hearing. Ranasinghe told parliament on Tuesday that fraud at the board ran into millions of dollars.
He said he would rather resign than go back on his decision to sack the board, accusing President Ranil Wickremesinghe of trying to defend corrupt officials. There has been no reaction to the deepening crisis so far this week from the International Cricket Council (ICC), the world governing body.
The ICC has rules against political interference and has previously suspended Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka have not won the World Cup since 1996, with Ranasinghe blaming the board for the “deterioration” of standards. — AFP
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