ICC suspends Sri Lankan cricket board over ‘government interference’

Sri Lanka Cricket’s membership in the International Cricket Council (ICC) has been suspended with immediate effect by the ICC Board.

The ICC Board of Directors met today and determined that Sri Lanka Cricket is in serious breach of its obligations as a member, particularly the requirement to manage its affairs autonomously and ensure that there is no government interference in Sri Lankan cricket governance, regulation, and/or administration.

slcThe ICC Board will determine the terms of the suspension in due course. The ICC stated in a statement issued Friday night that the SLC had violated its responsibilities as a member, namely the responsibility to handle its operations autonomously and without government intervention.

Though the ICC refers to the sentence as a “suspension,” it is more of a warning as the ICC tries to prevent additional government meddling in the operation of SLC. As things stand, the suspension will have no immediate impact on Sri Lankan cricket. Sri Lanka’s World Cup campaign concluded on Thursday, and no cricket will be played in the country until December. SLC will not get any ICC funding until January.

slcAlthough the ICC’s decision may appear to be unexpected, SLC may not have been. According to reports, SLC requested that the ICC board adopt such drastic measures. The ICC also continues to acknowledge SLC president Shammi Silva, who is expected to attend the ICC meetings in Ahmedabad since the ICC Board has permitted SLC delegates to attend as observers.

The problems in the Sri Lankan cricket board began shortly after the team’s dismal 302-run loss to India in the 2023 World Cup, in which it was bowled out for only 55 runs. Soon after the defeat, the sports minister fired the whole cricket board, exacerbating the turmoil. The court of appeals, however, quickly restored Sri Lanka Cricket.

slcThe government, which is divided over the minister’s decision to fire the SLC board of management, issued a report advocating a new constitution for the governing body, as well as a new voting process to nominate office bearers.

Sri Lanka, managed by former England coach Chris Silverwood, won two of their nine World Cup matches in India and currently lie second bottom of the table, with further matchups remaining to be played, making it doubtful that they can qualify for the 2025 Champions Trophy.

The ICC board will meet again on November 21 to approve the next steps in the suspension process. Sri Lanka is expected to host the Under-19 Men’s Cricket World Cup in early 2024, following a three-Test tour of England in August.


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