Football Sri Lanka faces the axe over borrowed time | Sunday Observer

Football Sri Lanka faces the axe over borrowed time

25 September, 2022

Not holding an election of office bearers on the due date and playing for time while targeting a controversial new Constitution:

Four national sports associations (NSA) including Football Sri Lanka (FSL) have no mandate to continue in office after September 17 for failing to conduct their annual general meeting (AGM) on the due date following an extraordinary gazette notification issued by Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe.

The other three sporting bodies are said to be less popular than football.

All NSAs are expected to hold their AGM before May 31 but because of the economic crisis in the country, the Department of Sports Development (DSD) which oversees all national sports bodies had given them time till August 31.

The Director General of DSD Amal Edirisooriya was not available for comment.

FSL had been given a further grace of ten days which was further extended till October 31 as the football body held discussions with FIFA officials, sports authorities in the country and their general membership to fast track amending their Constitution.

It has been reported that the new FSL Constitution had been approved by a two-thirds majority at an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) held on Thursday and announced that elections would be held on October 23.

However, in a sudden move the Sports Minister cancelled his previous decrees extending their term of office till October 31 which was ironically published on the day FSL conducted its EGM. The FSL membership arrived at a consensus regarding amendments to the Constitution after conducting a workshop the previous day.

Among them was adhering to the FIFA directive of one vote for each affiliated member as there was some ambiguity in the existing clause. “The previous Constitution was very vague. It says one delegate at all AGMs which means only one vote but a second clause says additional delegates can participate based on the number of active clubs they have in the league.

“This is actually to attend a Congress not to grant voting powers,” said a former FSL president Anura de Silva who pointed out that the one vote ruling had been enshrined in their Constitution since 2013 but not implemented.

“Since 2015 when a contest for the FSL president was held after 19 years, the practice of three votes per member had been carried out in 2017 and 2021. It was against the principles of FIFA,” he added.

Another key Amendment was abolishing the election of general secretary, treasurer and assistant treasurer as required by FIFA which is in conflict with Sri Lanka’s Sports Law requiring officials to be elected.

“There is some confusion regarding this and other grey areas although amendments to the constitution have been passed,” he said.

“We need a clarification from the Sports Minister whether FSL can hold the AGM when the present office-bearers have no mandate to stay in office. The sports ministry must take appropriate action and take control of football administration by appointing a competent authority,” added Anura de Silva.