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Last updated: 20 July, 2008 - Published 16:05 GMT
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Appointing Arjuna to SLC 'mistake'

Minister Gamini Lokuge
Lokuge insists Thilakratne will not be allowed to be the manager while being a politician
Sri Lanka’s sports minister says appointing Arjuna Ranatunga as the head of Sri Lanka Cricket was ‘a serious mistake’.

Minister Gamini Lokuge told BBC Sandeshaya that appointing Ranatunga as the head of SLC while he was a parliamentarian was ‘wrong’.

Politicians should not hold positions in sports bodies, the minister added.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed Mr. Ranatunga, a ruling party MP, replacing Jayantha Dharmadasa as the head of SLC in January this year.

Team manager controversy

The minister was commenting on the recent controversy over appointing former Test captain, Hashan Thilakaratne, as the manager for the upcoming Indian tour of Sri Lanka.

Arjuna Ranatunga holding the Cricket World Cup
World Cup winner's administration is marred by controversies

Mr. Lokuge insisted he would not ratify the nomination by the SLC, unless Mr. Thilakaratne resigns from his position as an opposition party organiser for Colombo district.

Hashan Thilakaratne is currently the Avissawella organiser for the main opposition, United National Party (UNP).

“Do you want me to commit the same mistake once again,” he queried when asked why Mr. Ranatunga is exempt from his policy not to allow politicians to hold offices in sports bodies.

Corruption charges

The Ranatunga administration was marred by controversies over financial irregularities and lack of democracy in the interim committee within weeks since he took over the office.

Hashan Thilakaratne (photo:
Thilakaratne is the opposition organiser for Avissavella electorate

When contacted by the, Arjuna Ranatunga said he was conducting a meeting and requested to call him later.

There was no response when the BBC contacted him later in the day.

The Sri Lanka cricket has been under interim administrations appointed by the sports minister for the last few years.

Three democratically elected bodies were dissolved accusing of financial irregularities but none of the administrators are yet to be charged.

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