After SLC, Dandeniya wrecking havoc with a new sport

Suraj Dandeniya was appointed tournament director for the ICC World Cup 2011 in Sri Lanka at a time when his uncle DS De Silva (aka Somachandra De Silva) was the chairman of the interim committee of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC). Dandeniya came under intense media pressure and criticism and allegations of nepotism were raised.

The World Cup was a gigantic financial disaster for cricket as a whole in Sri Lanka and it virtually bankrupted the board, leaving players without salaries and domestic tournaments postponed.

Dandeniya, like Nishantha Ranatunga at SLC, was ‘elected’ to a top position in the Sri Lanka Badminton Association in a complete farce of an election and is now facing the heat there too.

The article below is from The Island.

One of the most controversial sports officials in recent years, Suraj Dandeniya, former head of Sri Lanka Cricket’s 2011 ICC World Cup organising committee, was fervently censured before a media gathering at Nippon Hotel, Colombo last morning.

The event was a media briefing hosted by Prof. Ranjith de Silva and his team that walked out last April from the Sri Lanka Badminton Association (SLBA) Annual General Meeting, in protest over illegal conduct of the Dandeniya faction, the eventual winners of the elections. Dandeniya was elected President, SLBA, for a two-year period at this much talked about AGM that marked Dandeniya’s return to sports, years after his doomed stay with cricket.

"Dandeniya had no qualification to contest. They played out the election but the Sports Ministry shows no reaction," said Prof. de Silva.

Allegedly, some affiliates of the SLBA have been granted voting rights illegally while others had been unjustly denied to vote, during the last AGM which paved the way for another Dandeniya circus in local sports. His tenure at the SLC World Cup Directorate ended up with allegations from many quarters on corruption of millions of rupees, unnecessary spending on building cricket stadia and an eventual, mindboggling losing of computerised data at the cricket board, under an interim body led by his uncle, D. S. de Silva.

"We only have a very simple request. Please hold the badminton association elections again! Without giving any valid answer to our quarry, the (Sports) Ministry is playing with the documents. Its Director General is referring this case to the (Sports) Minister, the Minister is referring this to one Mr. Wijeratne, Wijeratne refers it to the DG, and so on. Yet, there is no sight of any solution," quipped Prof. de Silva, a Cambridge scholar and former two-time badminton men’s National champion before becoming President of the SLBA, during 2008-10.

Another former top-notch player L. R. Ariyananda reflected on the gory events of the April AGM where Dandeniya had allegedly tried to assault him, before Prof. de Silva had intervened to stop him.

"He said ‘ei nakiya, umba thamai me okkoma karanne’ (old man, you’re the one who is doing all this) and threatened me. This was a very shocking incident. We’d not experienced such a thing for the last 25 years. It indicated thuggery is creeping in to the sport of badminton. In fact, some participants at the AGM stepped out after seeing this ugly incident," said Dayananda, a former five-time National champion.

Dandeniya was put in an awkward light at the press conference when the speakers claimed he had not any playing background and sought special ministerial permission to contest the AGM.

"We can report this unlawful AGM to the badminton world body. But such a deed would only bring disrepute to the country. Then there is a possibility that we would be branded as traitors. What the world body will do in this kind of situation is to quickly ban the national association for some years. Such a thing would bring about grave repercussions to the sport as a whole," explained Prof. de Silva, a present Council Member of the Badminton World Federation, when quarried as to why they don’t complain to the sport’s world body as Dandeniya and co tend to hoodwink any effort of investigations held nationally.

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