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Sri Lanka sports minister Roshan Ranasinghe


Sri Lanka’s sports minister, Roshan Ranasinghe, said on Saturday that his government would complain to the ICC’s Dispute Resolution Committee about the “illegal” suspension of the country’s cricket governing body.

The ICC suspended Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) on Friday citing political interference in its affairs. Ranasinghe dismissed the entire board led by Shammi Silva as Sri Lanka lost by a devastating 302 runs against India in their ICC World Cup match in Mumbai.

However, Sri Lanka’s Court of Appeal reinstated the board, overruling Ranasinghe’s drastic decision.

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Sri Lankan cricket in further trouble as ICC suspends SLC for political interference

“The ICC’s suspension of Sri Lanka is illegal. We have been maliciously suspended without giving us a chance to respond to the allegation,” Ranasinghe told reporters in the capital Colombo.

He said the ICC referred to “political interference” in Sri Lanka Cricket but did not specify the charges.

“First, we need to have the charges and then an opportunity to respond,” Ranasinghe said.

“If we fail to get satisfaction from the DRC, we will go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.”

The ICC said on Friday that Cricket Sri Lanka had “serious breach of its obligations as a member”, stressing “the need to manage its affairs independently and ensure that the government does not interfere”.

The suspension came a day after the Sri Lankan parliament asked the board to withdraw from allegations by Ranasinghe that he had embezzled millions of dollars.

The ICC board will decide the conditions of the suspension later, he said in a brief statement.

It was not immediately clear whether the indefinite suspension would affect Sri Lanka hosting the Under-19 World Cup in January.

The local board said Sri Lanka will lose a $2.4 million grant from the ICC to develop local venues if the 16-nation under-19 tournament is scrapped because of the suspension.

The crisis involving the cricket board – the richest sports organization in the bankrupt island nation – came to a head after India’s humiliating World Cup defeat in Sri Lanka last week.

Sri Lanka Cricket’s elected board members were unanimously asked by Parliament to resign on Thursday, accusing them of unprecedented corruption.

The board is now locked in litigation after the sports minister sacked him on Monday, only to be reinstated the following day at the Court of Appeal pending a hearing in two weeks’ time.

The ICC has rules against political interference and Sri Lanka has been suspended before.

With inputs from AFP

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