Feb 28, 2020

SLC apologizes to cricket fans

Sri Lanka Cricket has  apologized over the assault on cricket fans by the security officers outside the Sooriyaweva International Cricket Stadium in Hambanthota during the second ODI between Sri Lanka and West Indies.

With over 9,000 sports fans trying to enter the stadium to watch the match which Sri Lanka won by 161 points, a tense situation has erupted between the security units and fans.

President of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Shammi Silva has apologized on behalf of Sri Lanka Cricket, saying that the fans are a pride to the sport and their encouragement is invaluable to the country's cricket.

“We didn't really think so many people would come to watch the match. We had sold 3,000 tickets before the match. Another 2,000 to 2,500 tickets were printed. But shortly after the match started, about 8,000 to 9,000 people arrived. ”

“What really happened was when Sri Lankans were bowling, the fans inside were cheering. Around 9,000 spectators gathered outside tried to break into the ground.” the SLC President said. "We are truly sorry for what happened to sports fans," he said.

“We thought there would be not much crowd because of a working day. There were about 3000 tickets sold. Anyway, we gave everyone who came to watch the match a chance to watch the game for free. Because of the record audience response, we were able to achieve a record victory. As the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Cricket I apologize to the sports fans for that. In the event of any disappointment or embarrassment, we will accept that responsibility,” the Chairman said.

SLC CEO Ashley de Silva said although many have pointed finger at the SLC over the incident that SLC had nothing to do with any of the assault.

The CEO, explaining how the security is handled at the venue, added that SLC will not interfere in any of its responsibilities once the responsibility for security is given to the parties concerned.

“The biggest responsibility we have at the start of a tournament is the safety of the players and the spectators. That is why we have a safety plan ahead of every tournament. We work according to that plan. The police have a lot of responsibility here,” he said pointing out that former Air Force Commander Roshan Gunatilleke and Retired Major General R. W. de Zoysa are in charge of the security responsibilities of SLC.

Speaking further Mr. Ashley de Silva said, “When the responsibility is given to the police, we will not rejoin their work. They're responsible for security. We join them after the match to just look at how things went. We also saw what happened in this game. We need an audience. It is they who encourage our players. As the President has said, we will never allow any problem to happen like this in the future.”

Commenting on the situation, retired Major General Zoysa said: “Traditionally, the police play a major role in the security of the stadium. In addition, a separate group of people has been appointed for tickets. Once that happens, the situation will be controlled and no one will ever be ordered to attack. What I see here is that the police have acted in accordance with their procedures carrying out their own security measures. ”

“It is the police that decide the manpower and how to act. Neither the SLC nor our consultation will give any advice on the measures to be taken there. This is not the first time this has happened. That is how they have been trained to handle crowds,” the retired Major General Zoysa added.

Meanwhile, Sports minister - Dullas Alahapperuma yesterday (28) stated that he has instructed the SLC to investigate the incident.

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