Mar 22, 2021

SLC doled out Rs. 338.9 m to members Featured

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has doled out a whopping Rs 338.5 mn to voting members by way of grants and loans for various projects–from infrastructure development to payment of salaries of employees of district cricket associations–in just the last two years, documents obtained by the Sunday Times through the Right to Information Act show.

The documents were released by Kamal Dharmasiri, the head of the National Development Committee, nearly six months after they were first requested. They reveal that the Board’s financial distributions to the membership, inclusive of the annual development grant and various other project-specific grants, cost Rs 125 mn in 2019, the year a new Executive Committee headed by Shammi Silva took over. But there’s a significant increase in club contributions last year, with up to Rs 213.9mn spent, an increase of Rs 88.9mn compared with the 2019 financial year.

Cricket was at a complete standstill for the most part of 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak but the Board has looked after the interests of the membership by paying them handsomely for survival. It distributed Rs. 35.1 million among 29 controlling clubs as cricket and infra-structure development funds during the pandemic while Rs. 12.5 mn was split among 22 affiliated clubs including premier cricket-playing clubs like Ragama CC, Baduraliya CC, Lankan CC and Nugegoda Sports and Welfare Club.

Among those beneficiaries are several clubs that only feature in the division 111 tournament but hold controlling status–the highest membership category in the Board.

In addition, the Board has distributed over Rs 116 mn among 20 clubs for the development of stadiums, pavilions, clubhouses and indoor development during the year in question. The biggest beneficiary of this project was Colombo Cricket Club headed by Board President Shammi Silva. The sum they have received was Rs 20 mn out of which Rs 10 mn is a loan. The other Rs 10 mn was allocated for renovation of the existing clubhouse. CCC also got Rs 10mn in 2019 for the same purpose.

Meanwhile, Dimbula Cricket and Athletics Club, University of Colombo, Colombo Colts Cricket Club and Panadura SC have all received Rs 10 mn for development purposes.

The district cricket associations, which many argue should be abolished from the membership, have depended solely on the Board’s coffers. Accordingly, SLC has looked after rents, utility payments and salaries of employees of these white elephants who enjoy voting rights at the election.