South Asia

Sri Lanka names new cricket board amid corruption row

Sri Lanka players in action during the cricket World Cup
Image caption Sri Lankan cricket is heavily in debt after co-hosting the 2011 World Cup

The Sri Lankan government has dissolved the country's cricket board and appointed a new one amid claims of corruption and mismanagement.

The government says a new board will be elected in January.

Under new rules set by world cricket's governing body, national cricket boards must be elected and free of political interference within two years.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has been run by political appointees on a temporary basis for years and is heavily in debt.

The cricket board owes more than $15m after co-hosting this year's World Cup with India and Bangladesh. Last month it sought financial help from the government and state bank.

'Wrong media reports'

Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage told BBC Sinhala that the interim committee announced on Friday would serve until January when elections would be held.

"As per ICC recommendation we could have run an interim committee until 2013, but we will hold elections in January 2012," he said.

The new committee contains one former national player, Sidath Wettimuny, and three businessmen, headed by Upali Dharmadasa who was also part of the sport's governing body in the 1990s.

The changes come as cricket in Sri Lanka is going through rough times.

In April former national captain Hashan Tillekaratne claimed that match fixing had been a widespread practice in Sri Lankan cricket since 1992.

Shortly after the country co-hosted the World Cup this year, the captain, vice-captain and panel of selectors all resigned.

Although they did not say so, there has been much speculation that they had had enough of political interference in the game, the BBC's Charles Haviland in Colombo says.

Many fans were unhappy when veteran player Sanath Jayasuriya was recently recalled to the squad, apparently by virtue of being a government MP.

There is a widespread feeling that cricket is corruptly and badly run in Sri Lanka, our correspondent says.

But the sports minister denied this. He said accounts of mismanagement in cricket were exaggerated, adding: "There is no financial crisis in the SLC."

Members of both committees would face a parliamentary committee on 6 July to "clear their name from certain wrong media reports", he added.

Around the BBC

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites