Football funds will be Manil’s main focus | Sunday Observer

Football funds will be Manil’s main focus

30 May, 2021
Dr Manil Fernando
Dr Manil Fernando

The election of office-bearers to one of the most acclaimed sporting bodies in the country, the Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) which is scheduled to be held on May 31 will see two factions in battle to take charge of the reigns.

One faction is led by Dr. Manil Fernando and the other headed by the present Secretary of the FFSL Jaswar Umar.

Fernando has a team of experienced and young talented members making a strong challenge to the opposing faction by introducing many new changes to the running of the Federation in a disciplined manner with the aim of promoting the game among players as well as followers.

Fernando, who is a medical doctor said that football needs a new formula and that the present status of the sport has reached a very low level as the management failed to keep abreast with the levels that require management at its highest.

The past two years was the worst period for the game that had to undergo many hardships with the Covid-19 pandemic too getting in the way. Fernando said that the past decade has failed to see football in Sri Lanka achieve any noteworthy performances to make a change in the standings of rankings in Asia and the world and his priority will be to set the course.

He noted as to why Sri Lankan failed to achieve success by highlighting the FFSL’s management failures due to lack of proper planning to work the different sections in the right manner with qualified personnel handed full authority.

He specifically noted that the Finance Division has to be run by an independent body appointed by the elected Committee with the sole authority to handle the financial part of the Federation for which it has to take full responsibility.

"The Federation is run with funds that come through FIFA and the AFC and these funds had to be well controlled. If this is done in the proper manner and the final reports sent for their verifications only then will the next funds be released.

"These finances are granted once in four years but the money that was granted to Sri Lanka was not fully utilized due to the present Covid-19 pandemic situation in the country. As such the two governing bodies will not take serious action mainly due to the present Covid-19 pandemic which has completely destabilized the sports arena around the world," Fernando told reporters at a media briefing.

Dr. Fernando disclosed his program to be implemented saying a full transformation has to be made with the internal arrangements of FFSL by separating different sections to look after different fields such as Administration Structure, Finance, Marketing, Technical Development and Competition Committees.

"I had a discussion with the energetic Minister of Sports Namal Rajapaksa to develop the game. The Minister himself is a football fan and fully agreed with the plan forwarded to him and gave his blessings by pledging to give the fullest support via the Ministry," said Fernando.

"At present few competitions are arranged by the Tournament and Technical Committees but these too are not properly organised due to lack of knowledgeable personnel. To overcome this issue there should be a special committee entrusted only with Tournaments for which these committees will be given the responsibility.

"They must also be given the task to organise women’s tournaments and the Schools Football Association has a big role to play," added Fernando.

According to Fernando other areas that need Technical Committees are in Coach Development, Referee Training, Youth Training Program and grass root level training.

"All these programs should be handled by a highly qualified Technical Director. As we intend to promote women’s football it also needs to train women coaches for the game from schools who can play a vital role in attracting girls to enter the field of football and they too can be guided by the Technical Committee," said Dr. Fernando.

He said it will become the duty of the new Committee to look into the grievances of all Leagues, clubs affiliated to the Leagues and also the most important sector of the sport, the players.

"Players are the main part of the game and they have to be looked after not only during their playing days but they should be given due recognition. With this in mind the new Committee plans to introduce an Insurance Scheme which will be valid for injuries as well as after retiring from careers in football. This is something all football playing countries have for players to keep them in the sport," said Fernando.