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
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
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
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
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
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'.