The Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) national governing body has today (November 10) been suspended as a member of the International Cricket Council (ICC), with immediate effect, because of government interference in SLC affairs.
This follows a meeting of the ICC's board, at which it was determined – the ICC has now said in a statement – that SLC was “in serious breach of its obligations as a member”, particularly with regard to ensuring there is no governmental interference in the governance and general administration of cricket in the country.
This follows a tumultuous period in cricket governance in Sri Lanka, stemming from the men's team’s disappointing showing in the ongoing 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup in India, with Sri Lanka having failed to make the knockout stages.
Earlier this week, as a response to the poor on-field performances, the country’s sports minister Roshan Ranasinghe sacked the entire SLC board and attempted to install an interim committee instead – only for the country’s legal system to reappoint the sacked board within 24 hours.
Ever since then, the Sri Lankan parliament has been debating the governance and administration of cricket on the island.
ESPNCricinfo has reported that an online meeting of the ICC board took place earlier today to take a stance on this issue and that SLC has been informed of the decision. It is likely now that the next ICC board meeting, on November 21, will be used to decide how to proceed.
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The ICC has said that SLC was in breach of the requirement “to manage its affairs autonomously and ensure that there is no government interference in the governance, regulation and/or administration of cricket in Sri Lanka.”
All aspects of the SLC’s activities – governance, finance, and national team selection – are under inspection by the ICC in terms of potential government interference, it has been reported.
However, the Sri Lankan government is not a newcomer in terms of interfering with national sports teams – the country’s sports minister has had to sign off on the composition of each national team squad since 1973.
SLC is the first full member of the ICC to be suspended since 2019, when Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) was issued with that punishment – also for government interference. During its period of suspension, ZC had its funding grants by the ICC stopped, while all ratified cricket in the country was shut down.
Having played all their matches from the 10-team round-robin World Cup group stage, Sri Lanka lie ninth, only ahead of the Netherlands.
The suspension comes with Sri Lanka having been set to host the ICC Under-19 Men's Cricket World Cup in January and February next year.