Minister puts disputed memo in limbo

September 15, 2014 10:09 PM

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In order to settle a major dispute among officials that has threatened to destroy Sri Lanka’s most popular sport, Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage has given instructions to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) officials to shelve a controversial memorandum presented by President Jayantha Dharmadasa recently to the SLC exco, outlining a new administrational and management structure.

A media release issued by the Minister’s Media Secretary Harsha Abeykoon stated that the Minister had instructed the two officials to continue following the procedure that has been in place at SLC for a long time to activate decisions taken by the SLC exco.

“As there have been no issues under the prevailing administrational and management systems at SLC to carry out the smooth functioning of affairs, Sports Minister expressed confidence that officials would be able to carry out duties without major conflicts,” stated the release.

The squabbling among SLC top men exacerbated after Dharmadasa tabled this memorandum containing recommendations to be adopted in connection with the powers of the Chief Executive Officer of Sri Lanka Cricket (CEO) at a recent exco meeting.

There was widespread speculation that this memorandum was aimed at curtailing the powers of Secretary Ranatunga while a section of the officials protested to the document saying it violated the SLC constitution.

However, just a few days after the exco meeting, SLC Chief Executive Ashley de Silva sent out a circular to his staff members informing them that he has been given “turbo” powers by the SLC exco.

“This is to inform you that the undersigned was vested with full authority over the Staff of Sri Lanka Cricket with immediate effect which was a collective decision taken at the Executive Committee Meeting held on 1st September 2014,” de Silva informed the SLC staff in a mail.

“In order to formulate systems and methods of the organization and with the view to achieve our objectives, you are only to report to the undersigned through your superiors there by following the right protocol regarding all official affairs and matters in your respective areas of responsibility and also ensure strict compliance to this effect at all times thereby only taking directives/instructions from your superiors regarding your assigned duties.

Further, you are not to share any information of sensitive or secretive nature with any other individual or party of authority without proper approval from the undersigned hereafter,” de Silva informed SLC staffers, effectively prohibiting them communicating with SLC’s elected exco members.

“The Executive Committee has approved to send a circular to all employees of SLC to ensure at all times that the employees of Sri Lanka Cricket do not hold the position of an office bearer or a member of a committee of any member club or association. The Exco also decided to inform all employees/coaches that no one should conduct any private coaching or Coaching academy or classes as it is a conflict of interest and against the objectives and vision of SLC. Therefore as directed by EXCO one month notice is hereby given to comply with the EXCO decision,” de Silva stated in his email.

However, this drastic action by the CEO stirred up a hornet’s nest, with SLC Assistant Secretary Hirantha Perera immediately issuing a mail in protest to the CEO which was followed by a heated exchange of mails between Vice President Mohan de Silva and President Jayantha Dharmadasa, leading into the present volatile situation at Sri Lanka’s cricket governing body.

However, according to the media release issued by the Ministry, Dharmadasa has also agreed to stop imposing the controversial memorandum as the Minister had asked the officials to work in unison.

The Ministry media release state that SLC President Jayantha Dharmadasa and Secretary Nishantha Ranatunga agreed to patch the difference that had arisen in recent times due to “miscommunication” between them over administration and management issues at SLC, following a meeting he had last morning with the two officials.

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