Feb 16, 2022

Interim committee for Rugby in the offing?

The seven rugby clubs from Western Province contesting the current league tournament organized by Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) are in the process of sending a letter to the Ministry of Sports, seeking clarification on the legitimacy of their membership status with SLR, 'Sri Lanka Mirror' reliably learns.

On July 20, 2020, the secretary at the Ministry of Sports had formally announced that the Western Province's membership with Sri Lanka Rugby was suspended the non-payment of their membership fees to SLR as per an advisory committee recommendation the then Sports minister - Dullas Alahapperuma had approved that the measure was to be implemented immediately.

The formal announcement by the Ministry secretary is shown below.

Rugby 001

Protocols ignored?

Thereafter, it is alleged that the Western Province's membership with SLR has not been obtained by following the proper protocols.

In the past when sports bodies have been suspended, the Ministry of Sports seeking the Attorney General's opinion matters as they were informed that after suspension the full procedure of obtaining membership needs to be fulfilled from scratch.

'Sri Lanka Mirror' also learns that the Western Province had paid their outstanding dues and that SLR has kept the Ministry of Sports informed.

However this does not qualify the removal of the suspension.

A senior rugby official who spoke to 'Sri Lanka Mirror' on condition of anonymity said "The Western Province needs to follow the new member joining policy from scratch, if in the event they are to be members of the SLR Council. There is a rule and there is also a law that needs to be followed for this purpose. In principle this is like a lower court overruling an order than has been given by a higher court. You just can't do that."

If so, then the current league tournament will be thrown into jeopardy as the legitimacy of the three private clubs namely CH & FC, CR & FC and Havelocks SC along with Police SC, Army SC, Navy SC and Air Force SC's participation in the ongoing tournament organized by SLR would be illegal, reports say.

This leaves only Kandy SC as the legitimate club to contest this ongoing tournament, as they do come under the Central Province, which does not have any membership issues with SLR.

Suspended clubs attend 2020 AGM & meetings

In a rather strange twist, despite the Western Province being suspended, its members did attend the SLR's Annual General Meeting and Election of Office Bearers, which was held barely a month after their suspension on August 20th, 2020 at the Liberty Ballroom, Ramada Hotel Colombo.

Subsequently, members of the Western Union, despite continuing to be suspended, had also attended SLR organized meetings and even proposed and seconded certain matters pertaining to finances.

Meanwhile, in the recent past, the Western Province had conducted its AGM minus the representation of six of the seven A Division Clubs with the exception of CR & FC who was physically represented by Jeevan Goonetilleke. According to sources, those who made up the numbers at the meeting were mainly from clubs that do not play rugby anymore such as Peterson SC.

In this backdrop, veterans in the field say that it is possible for an interim committee to be appointed for Rugby.