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Government Gazette

Never ending problems at NSAs

Sri Lanka sport has its own 'never ending' problems. At any given time, there are several national sports associations (NSAs) which are either run by interim administrations or with executive committees under investigations.

We have enough and more men who clash to seek office at NSAs but there are only a handful of dedicated and devoted sports officials, whose records are clean. Sports politics is the `virus' that has infected Sri Lanka sports.

Gone are the days the honest, dedicated and humble `gentlemen' ran the game. With sponsorships and professionalism becoming a part of sports, most sports controlling bodies have `unofficially' closed their doors to the gentlemen administrators we had in the good old days.

Instead, what we commonly experience at many top seats of most NSAs are people with political affiliations, ulterior motives and those who are with hidden personal agendas. Seeking an election to a top seat of so-called important NSAs is harder than winning the Parliamentary general elections.

This new sub culture, which has become a part of Sri Lanka sports for the last decade or so, has thrown those `gentlemen administrators' out of NSAs. Even the few gentlemen left, who want to do an honest job, can not get elected due to club politics and organised groups which operate under corrupt sports officials.

Then there is another set of officials who do not fall into either of the above two categories. They are the people who could not win confidence of member clubs and associations of a NSA. But they still want to hold office at a NSA and they make use of their political or other personal connections to fulfil their ambitions. Most interim committees are filled with this third type of sports officials.

Though there were early indications that Sri Lanka sports would be a clean place without any interim committees or problem-ridden NSAs, we still have not been able to solve those problems completely.

Out of the five interim committees we had, elections were held for karate and cycling. But we have three more to get rid of - cricket, wrestling and kabaddi, and have a democratic atmosphere in Sri Lanka sports.

There again, when problems of two NSAs were solved, we have experienced crisis at NSAs of hockey, taekwondo, chess, netball, bodybuilding, judo and elle. Director General of Sports Milton Amarasinghe says there will be fresh elections to the Netball Federation of Sri Lanka on June 28 as the Sports Ministry has ruled the previous elections to be null and void.

There will be fresh elections to the Sri Lanka Hockey Federation on June 7 but Amarasinghe says it will be conducted under the original nominations submitted for the previous election which has been ruled out to be an improper one. But fresh nominations would be called for the netball elections.

Sri Lanka Judo Federation has not conducted its AGM before March 31, as stipulated by the National Sports Law. Hence, the Sports Ministry will have to conduct the judo AGM too. That means we have ten sports controlling bodies which have either internal problems or run by interim bodies? What a joke!

It was nice to see the longstanding administration battle of the cycling federation coming to an end for the betterment of poor cyclists. But when we settle one, greater problems would unveil at two or more NSAs.

Due to this type of common problems experienced at a considerable number of sports controlling bodies on a regular basis, the Director General of Sports is forced to forget most of his urgent duties on sports development and other related matters and devote almost fulltime to settle the `quarrels' of sports officials.

Amidst such a disheartening atmosphere, the Amateur Boxing Association of Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka Tennis Association have set a great example to others in every aspect to show how a NSA should be run. Full credit should go to the two Presidents of those two NSAs - Dian Gomes (boxing) and Suresh Subramaniam (tennis) who have done an exemplary job over the last few years.

The untiring efforts of Gomes and Subramaniam have given a new life to these two sports and they have implemented their own plans, even to find finances without being a whole scale burden to the Sports Ministry. Sri Lanka sports would not suffer this unfortunate fate, if we have a few more genuine sports administrators of their calibre.

Instead, we have loads of power hungry officials who have `prospered' through sports. These officials are only interested in foreign tours, scholarships and sponsorships that come their way. They have their own gangs and operate in an organised manner. They even `treat' all those who help them to `buy' votes. Our sports would never prosper unless we get rid of this `sports mafia'.



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