Sri Lanka Cricket suspended by ICC board

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has been suspended by the ICC board with immediate effect because of extensive government interference in SLC administration.

“The ICC Board met today and determined that Sri Lanka Cricket is in serious breach of its obligations as a Member, in particular, the requirement to manage its affairs autonomously and ensure that there is no government interference in the governance, regulation and/or administration of cricket in Sri Lanka,” the ICC said in a statement. “The conditions of the suspension will be decided by the ICC Board in due course.”

While the ICC’s quarterly meetings are scheduled for November 18-21 in Ahmedabad, the ICC Board met online on Friday to address the SLC situation. It is learned the ICC Board was concerned by the Sri Lankan government’s interference in all areas within the SLC, from governance to finance and even matters concerning the national team. It is understood the ICC has informed SLC of its decision and conveyed to them that the next steps will be decided when the ICC Board meets on November 21.

Since then, the affairs of Sri Lanka Cricket have been debated at length in parliament. But as of Friday, when the ICC suspension came, it was the elected SLC board headed by Shammi Silva that was running cricket in the country.

Even if the interim committee was in power, the appointment of such committees by the government had not prompted suspension by the ICC before. The previous occasion in which an interim committee was in place, from 2014 to 2015, caused the ICC to put funds due to SLC in escrow, and demoted SLC to observer status at board meetings. But they remained a member of the ICC officially.

Sri Lanka’s sports minister has also had the role of ratifying all Sri Lankan national teams, as per the nation’s sports law, which has been in place since 1973.

SLC is the second Full Member to be suspended by ICC in the last four years after Zimbabwe Cricket was suspended in 2019 for government interference. However, unlike in Zimbabwe’s case, where all cricket activities in the country were abruptly shut down, in addition to a freeze on funding, the ICC will tread carefully in Sri Lanka’s case.

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