Sri Lanka Rugby faces questions ahead of Asian Sevens | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka Rugby faces questions ahead of Asian Sevens

2 October, 2022

Sri Lanka Rugby appears to be in a state of limbo both at home and overseas following the suspension slapped by Asia Rugby on the governing body for the sport Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) and consequently its president Rizly Illyas.

Speculation is now rife whether Sri Lanka would be invited to participate in the Asian Sevens Series which begins this month since Asia Rugby had categorically stated in a communique on May 1 that “Sri Lanka Rugby has been suspended from the Asia Rugby membership resulting in Sri Lanka National Teams’ ineligibility to take part at any regional competitions”.

The three-leg Asia Sevens Series is scheduled to be held on October 22-23 (Thailand), November 12-13 (Korea) and November 26-27 (UAE).

Asia Rugby president Qais Abdulla Al Dhalai stated that the Sri Lanka issue would be clarified at a media conference in the first week of October as SLR announced plans to conduct an inter-club Sevens tournament this month.

A former SLR president raised alarm bells regarding the dire repercussions of the Asia Rugby suspension.

“We will not be invited for the Asian Seven Series. We are not in the Asia Rugby rankings which will affect our participation for the Asian Games and next Commonwealth Games,” he said.

The former Sri Lanka player lamented that this would deprive schoolboys of representing the country in junior international tournaments and national players in iconic multi-sport competitions.

Meanwhile, SLR is walking a tight rope after challenging the gazette notification issued by then Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa appointing Amal Edirisooriya, Director General of the Department of Sports Development as the Competent Authority for rugby.

While suspending the gazette, court informed SLR that the provincial rugby unions of Western and Uva who are non-members should not be allowed to participate in the upcoming elections or any other activities. After elections were called by SLR on August 30, Edirisooriya sent two letters directing that it should not be held as scheduled.

The SLR disregarding these circulars went ahead and elected new office-bearers.

When the Sports Ministry consulted the Attorney General’s Department and were mulling appointing an interim committee, they had been advised that there was a Competent Authority already in place and the gazette had only been suspended until the next court hearing which is scheduled for October 10.