Sri Lanka rugby players held to ransom by clubs | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka rugby players held to ransom by clubs

Rizly Illyas: Enough is enough
Rizly Illyas: Enough is enough

In a bombshell development rugby players have confided in Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) that they are being held to ransom by their clubs and not allowed to play for the national team.

The revelations coincided with a drastic move taken by Sri Lanka Rugby to medically monitor and register all club players and any failure on the part of a club not to release their players for national duty will result in a ban on the offending club.

“Enough is enough”, said Tournament Director and SLR deputy president Rizly Illyas. “It is now final after a majority of clubs voted in favour and we are going ahead with a Council decision that makes us put a system in place.

“Any club that does not release its players for national duty will be outlawed from contesting the domestic season”.

The ruling by the SLR Council was made following a meeting last Thursday among the clubs except for Havelocks, Air Force and Kandy SC who were not present.

Illyas said Air Force had agreed to the conditions falling in line with CR and FC, Army, CH and FC, Police and Navy thereby isolating Havelocks and Kandy.

According to Illyas, players make themselves unavailable for National duty by submitting frivolous reasons which are not found to be true and they will now have to declare their availability well in advance and be medically examined by a doctor if the excuse given is due to injury.

“If players don’t want to play, that is their right. But we have now implemented a system that has to be followed. And we will apply the rules,” warned Illyas.

He said SLR was in the process of raising funds to directly contract players like in the case of Sri Lanka’s cricketers in order to break the monopoly clubs have on players.

Illyas also said they were looking into prospects of starting the domestic club season with the Knock-Out tournament if their main commercial partner Dialog has no objection.