“President Maithripala Sirisena could come and contest these elections and he would still lose!” remarked Arjuna Ranatunga, after he failed to muster enough support to win one of the two vice president positions. “You can never win an SLC election as long as these same people are there.”
On the other hand, the Board’s voting system is so heavily skewed in Sumathipala’s favour, causing experts to repeatedly call for a complete overhaul to make it free and fair. After all, SLC has 147 votes, the highest in the world, and each vote has a price tag on it.
Given the certainty of the outcome, many question why the authorities bother with elections until, and unless, the SLC constitution is overhauled to bring about a level playing field. But successive administrations have not addressed this as it would compromise their own survival in the system.
The Sports Minister has vowed to introduce a new constitution through Parliament. Whether this would be accepted by the SLC membership is anybody’s guess. But the longer these necessary changes are delayed, the higher the chance of a further deterioration in the game.
The series of events in the run-up to the election had one clear winner emerging. That was Shammi Silva, who became President by beating Dharmadasa handsomely. And with Sumathipala coming into the Executive Committee by virtue of being the immediate past President, it is all but clear that Sumathipala will be pulling the strings.