The International Cricket Council (ICC) has taken immediate action by suspending Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) due to significant government interference in the board’s administration. Although termed a “suspension” by the ICC, it essentially serves as a warning aimed at preventing further government intervention in SLC’s affairs.
Despite the gravity of the term, the current suspension is not anticipated to have an immediate and severe impact on Sri Lankan cricket.
ICC SUSPENDS SRI LANKAN CRICKET BOARD MEMBERSHIP….!!!!
Sri Lanka won't be able to take part in any ICC events until ICC uplifts the ban. pic.twitter.com/B6r1kl3YJL
— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) November 10, 2023
The decision comes in the aftermath of Sri Lanka’s World Cup campaign concluding on Thursday, with no cricket activities scheduled in the country until December. Furthermore, no ICC funds are slated for disbursement to SLC until January.
The ICC board, convening online on Friday to address the SLC situation, scrutinized government interference across various facets, including administration, finance, and matters pertaining to the national team.
Sports Minister meets newly appointed Sri Lanka Cricket Interim Committee headed by Arjuna Ranatunga pic.twitter.com/SpS5jwlFUd
— NewsWire 🇱🇰 (@NewsWireLK) November 6, 2023
The forthcoming course of action will be determined during the ICC board meeting scheduled for November 21, notwithstanding the quarterly meetings set for November 18-21 in Ahmedabad. Notably, SLC had reportedly sought this stringent measure from the ICC, indicating that the decision might not have caught them off guard.
Acknowledging SLC president Shammi Silva, the ICC continues to recognize his position. Silva is expected to attend the ICC meetings in Ahmedabad in an observer capacity, as sanctioned by the ICC Board.
Earlier in the week, Sri Lanka’s sports minister Roshan Ranasinghe had ousted the SLC board and established an interim committee led by Arjuna Ranatunga. However, the national courts reinstated the board with a 14-day stay order on the dissolution gazette.
While the affairs of Sri Lanka Cricket have been extensively debated in the country’s parliament, the ICC’s suspension, as of Friday, is impacting the elected SLC board led by Silva. It’s worth noting that, unlike past instances, the appointment of interim committees by the government had not triggered ICC suspension before.
In the 2014-2015 period, when an interim committee was in place, the ICC withheld funds due to SLC and relegated them to observer status at board meetings, without officially revoking their ICC membership.
Sri Lanka’s sports minister has traditionally played a role in ratifying all national teams, following the nation’s sports law established in 1973. This suspension marks the second instance in the last four years that a Full Member has faced ICC suspension, with Zimbabwe Cricket meeting a similar fate in 2019.
Unlike Zimbabwe, where all cricket activities were abruptly halted and funding frozen, the ICC is expected to handle Sri Lanka’s case with caution.