Sri Lanka dissolves national cricket board

Sri Lanka’s sports minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage has confirmed he has forced the national cricket board committee to step down following allegations of financial mismanagement.

Aluthgamage said the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) committee, headed by former player Somachandra de Silva, was asked to resign on Thursday with millionaire businessman and former SLC board chairman Upali Dharmadasa stepping into the breach left by De Silva.

“One of the main tasks is to keep an eye on the finances. We are in a financial crisis after the World Cup,” Aluthgamage said at a news conference. “We spent more than we budgeted for.”

Sri Lanka co-hosted the 2011 World Cup and was left with a $69 million bill, with media reports suggesting that mismanagement by the SLC had been responsible for cost over-runs.

“The SLC cash problem will hopefully ease a bit when we shortly get a government grant and a government loan,” the minister continued.

On Wednesday the International Cricket Council (ICC) launched a probe into “black marketeering” of World Cup tickets, after its executive board received a confidential report criticising the handling of ticket sales in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

The SLC has been run by successive interim committees – appointed by the government – for the last seven years.

On Thursday, the ministry said it would abide by a new ICC directive, requiring all national boards to be elected without political interference.

The new SLC committee’s tenure will be restricted to six-months with the sports ministry promising to hold elections in January next year.

All member boards have been given until the next ICC meeting in June 2012 to implement the new ruling and a further 12 months – to June 2013 – before any sanctions will be considered.