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Will Interim Committee be disolved ?

Minister of Sports and Public Recreation Gamini Lokuge is to meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa shortly, before taking a final decision on a possible dissolutoin of the Interim Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC).

Minister Lokuge when contacted said that it was too premature to comment on the issue, but stressed that any decision regarding the SLC Interim Committee will be taken on the advice and recommendations of President Rajapaksa.

The Minister agreed that Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), the sport’s local controlling body was affllicted by a spate of ills as was recently highligted in Parliament by SLC Interime Committee Chairman and MP Arjuna Ranatunga during the Committee Stage debate of the Ministry of Sports, and the only panacea could be either to hold elections to SLC or form a fresh Interim Committee.

Minister Gamini Lokuge, stated that he was yet to officially hear from Sri Lanka Cricket Interim Committee head Arjuna Ranatunga, as to what action the latter has taken to stamp out corruption at SLC after the 1996 World Cup-winning captain made it known in Parliament that he has been saddled with a corrupt and mafia infested Interim Committee at the game’s domestic governing body.

Meanwhile, the Minister also noted that he has advised his Ministry Secretary S. Liyanagama and a group comprising SLC officials to hold talks with Taj Television (owners of Ten Sports) to procure a substantial price, before deciding on a new televisoin company to televise international cricket in Sri Lanka from 2009.

He said that if the talks fail to bring about a lucratice figure for SLC, then he has advised the SLC to opt for a fresh tender process.

The Minister of Sports also brushed aside suggestions that Ten Sports owners Taj Television, a company based in Dubai, could possibly threaten the SLC over any move to abrogate the deal signed by the previous Interim Committee of Jayantha Dharmadasa.

“They have no grounds to take legal action against the SLC, and we should not be unduly worried by such talk. Our lawyers have advised us that they (Ten Sports) have no recourse to take actoin and we will proceed accordingly.”

The Minister maintained that the previous SLC IC head Jayantha Dharmadasa had signed a deal with Ten Sports extending from 2009 to 2012 without getting a mandate to do so and amidst alleged failure to observe proper tender procedures.

The SLC has been sans a TV rights holder for international cricket in Sri Lanka for the last four months.

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