Gazette to bar gamblers from sports draws mixed reactions | Sunday Observer

Gazette to bar gamblers from sports draws mixed reactions

Sports Minister Harin Fernando
Sports Minister Harin Fernando

Certain elements have been enjoying, having the cake and eating it. The cake, directly or indirectly has affiliations with betting and other illegal activities that deny and deprive one of holding positions at the country’s richest sports body, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC).

Still some, knowing too well such unethical practices do not go with the sport, have occupied the pinnacle of position in the board.

During their stints, the concerned had made the most of cementing them steadily. A former strongman of SLC had enjoyed a joyous time, running the affairs, according to his whims and fancies.

The law of barring individuals from having the cake and eat it, had been active by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for quite some time. Sports Minister Harin Fernando’s bid to cut the wings of them in the above club, recently had gained few bouquets and brickbats.

With the amendment of the law and issuing a gazette notification, SLC is now on-par with the global sports body.

The extraordinary gazette released on August 23, though looks small in size, puts a full stop for the entrance of persons linked with betting, gaming or wagering. It was illegal to appoint a person with gambling or betting connections to the administration of any sports bodies even prior to this gazette.

Under the old provision, “A person shall be disqualified from being elected or otherwise to hold or continue to hold any paid or unpaid office or to hold any paid or unpaid post or to be a member of a Committee of any National Association of Sports or to be nominee of an affiliated club or organisation in a National Association of Sports, if he is directly or indirectly involved in carrying out the business of gaming, betting or wagering.”

However, the latest gazette presents a much broader explanation on how a member could be indirectly involved in betting, gambling or wagering.

“A person shall be disqualified from being elected or otherwise to hold or continue to hold any paid or unpaid office or to hold any paid or unpaid post or to be a member of a Committee of any National Association of Sports or to be nominee of an affiliated club or organisation in a National Association of Sports, if he or any member of his immediate family (a spouse, parent, sibling, son or daughter or son-in-law or daughter-in-law) has an interest in betting, gaming or wagering, or in a betting, gaming or wagering organisation or is employed in the day-to-day operations of such organisation or organisations.”

When contacted, SLC President Shammi Silva said that Sri Lanka Cricket would follow ICC regulations and nothing much they can do about it. He said SLC cricket is bound to adhere to the new regulation as it is quoted by the ICC too. Shammi Silva refused to comment when asked whether this provision was long overdue at Sri Lanka Cricket.

Meanwhile, SLC former Secretary Nishantha Ranatunga told the Sunday Observer that although the new provision seems to be a good amendment in sports regulations, it is another attempt of the Sports Minister to attack certain persons in SLC who are not adhering to his orders.

“For the last three years, we could see much corruption in Sri Lanka Cricket. Even politicians are involved in this.” Ranatunga alleged that Parliamentarian Dayasiri Jayasekera had changed the sports law to accommodate unqualified people to serve as treasure of the board.

He said, “This is good to show the public that the Minister is doing something good. But he is another culprit who is ruining the game. He has done much damage to Sri Lanka Cricket, as he has taken over Rs. 105 million for his electorate, the Badulla district, while main stream cricket clubs, such as SSC, NCC do not get even Rs. 4-5 million per annum from SLC. I do not say that we should not develop cricket in Badulla. But as a percentage wise, it is a lot of money on a district. A previous Minister also got Rs. 100 million for his club in Hettipola which was not even a member of SLC.” Sports Minister Harin Fernando, Secretary to the Ministry Chulananda Perera, Former Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera and Ex-President of SLC Thilanga Sumathipala were not available for comments. 

Comments