Questionable expenses and frolics by ex- Squash Federation officials | Sunday Observer

Questionable expenses and frolics by ex- Squash Federation officials

The sport that has gone into a slumber is squash, with no signs of keeping its head afloat and this is the main reason for several players to give up the sport and take up to other racquet games like badminton and tennis.

A set of office bearers of the Squash Federation were elected in late 2014 and up to July 2018 they have conducted only 18 tournaments including the senior and junior nationals. This is only about five tournaments per year.

Earlier, the Federation conducted between eight to ten tournaments a year and many parents of squash players in Sri Lanka are lamenting that nothing or very little is done to develop, encourage and popularize the game by the Sri Lanka Squash Federation.

However, when it comes to spending the monies they are on a roll. The audit report for the year ending December 31, 2016 claims that no payment vouchers were available for payments amounting to Rs. 2.8 million made from cheques numbered 381770 to 381794.

The money is unaccounted for and nobody seems to know on what the money was spent. They have not promoted or popularized the game among the youth or conducted adequate tournaments. No money was also set aside to fund the passages of players on overseas tours as it has always been the parents of players and the Sports Ministry that dole out the money for participation at foreign meets, the Sunday Observer learns.

The audited report also states that the Federation used up monies by stating Sports Expenses amounting to Rs. 5,722,821 in 2015 and Rs. 6,728,489 in 2016 amounting to more than Rs.12 million.

There were no programs set out during this period to promote, popularize or attract new players to the game. Parents allege that most of these monies would have been spent by officials who accompanied players on foreign trips according to their whims and fancies.

The country now waits for Sports Minister Harin Fernando to prove his credentials and take action against the mismanagement of funds.

The Squash Federation was also reluctant to send in entries of players for foreign competitions. With the South Asian Games (SAG) approaching the present officials of the Squash Federation have invited 16 players to join two pools for practices at the SSC courts. Pool A consist of four players and the rest in Pool B. Trials will be conducted to select the final team to be sent for the SAG to be held in Nepal.

It is also time for the election of office bearers to be held at their annual general meeting this month.

Already the secretary has resigned from his post. Former players say the only way Sri Lanka can produce world class squash players is for the right people to be elected as most world champions are from Asia.