"We want to implement the recommendations as fast as possible" — Aluthgamage
By Ryan Francis | November 21, 2012
Haroon Lorgat’s report was released earlier this week. © AFP
Sri Lanka’s sports minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage has said that he agrees with the recommendations in Haroon Lorgat’s report calling for an end to government interference in the cricket board, including changes to the sports law to prevent the sports minister from having a final say in team selections.
Lorgat, the former chief executive of the International Cricket Council (ICC), was hired by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) as a special adviser to advocate changes to ameliorate the current state that the financially-struggling SLC finds itself in today.
"We have recognised the need for reforms in the light of Sri Lanka finishing as runners up four times in a row since we won the World Cup," Aluthgamage told the Press Trust of India.
"Ninety per cent of [SLC] income is spent not on development but for player fees and payments for playing clubs. There are basic flaws in the administration and the cricketing structure," he added.
The cash-strapped SLC has tried fruitlessly in recent times to tap into their players’ earnings after falling into colossal debt due to board officials’ inability to stay within budget during the construction of stadiums for last year’s World Cup. The board has been heavily criticised by the local media for choosing to construct a stadium named after the Sri Lankan president in a sparsely populated region in his hometown Hambantota. Lorgat’s report would now aid them in their quest to reduce the players’ wages
In July, the players refused to sign their central contracts and threatened to boycott the inaugural Sri Lanka Premier League when SLC attempted to include a clause in their contracts that would have seen them lose a significant portion of their income. After already agreeing to cutbacks on their ICC participation fees previously, the players were in no mood for more pay cuts while board officials’ allowances and wages remained unaffected by their suggested austerity measures.
A report published on Wednesday in Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror newspaper was highly critical of SLC officials for approving increases to their allowances, while many of the low-ranking staff had not seen an increase in pay since 2009.
"All these top guys get six-figure monthly salaries and they get equally large packages in other benefits. They are also the people who can make money in several other ways. They also go and recommend increasing their own allowances. What about the cost of living for the rest of us," an unnamed SLC employee complained to the paper.
Lorgat’s report also suggests providing elected officials with a longer term, as opposed to the current one-year term, which may see Aluthgamage extend the term of current board officials.
The sports minister said that he wants to implement Lorgat’s recommendations "fast as possible" and added that he is willing to relinquish control over team selections.
"We are willing to change even that and further empower associations," he said.
Lorgat’s 10-page report is rumoured to have cost SLC in excess of $100,000 but it contains just four pages of recommendations. The report identifies nine issues and consists of 24 brief recommendations.
The report can be viewed below or downloaded here.
© Island Cricket