End of the road for gorging in sports | Sunday Observer

End of the road for gorging in sports

19 February, 2023
Minister Ranasinghe: I will do it and clean up this rot
Minister Ranasinghe: I will do it and clean up this rot

Leeching, fleecing and scrounging in sports could be brought to an end, or come close to a burial ground, if and when new Legislation is implemented to rid the country of an outdated Sports Law that has bred countless numbers of shady characters who are having a field day behind closed doors.

The new Law or Legislations is to be presented to Cabinet next week by a determined Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe who will even quit if his move to vanquish career sports officials, who stick around until Thy Kingdom come, cannot see the light of the day.

The new laws aim to outlaw and prohibit what Minister Ranasinghe calls “paper clubs” with voting rights that sustain unscrupulous office bearers in sports organisations who enrich themselves with funds meant for the welfare of sportsmen and women.

It will also limit the office of administrators to just two two-year terms and officials who live for all eternity will be ordered to clear out once they reach the age of 70.

“Not everybody in sports administration is a rogue and I respect them. But some of them come on a push cycle or three-wheeler and leave in a Benz car and these people have made sports associations their private business.

“They steal the money that is meant for the welfare of children in sports. We have decided to change all this with new laws and regulations,” declared a tough talking Minister Ranasinghe when he met Sports Editors of media organizations.

His move to dangle the axe over so-called elected officials is likely to excite both critics and crusaders alike who have been waiting for the day that the country’s rotten sports set-up is declared out of bounds to rogue elements who stand accused of feasting on foreign funds and the large amounts of money made through sponsorships and branding.

“Paper clubs are the root cause of corruption,” Ranasinghe revealed. “The rights of sportsmen and women have been violated. Officials clinging onto sports have cost Sri Lanka many opportunities. A blatant example is that Sri Lanka had been deprived of its turn to head the International Cricket Council (ICC) due to various allegations. Even the ICC president gets only one two-year term.

“We need new faces and new ideas in all sports associations and have decided it will be limited to two two-year terms. These (failed) people cannot take responsible decisions and violate the rights of the players and athletes. We have decided to stop them at the age of 70”, said Ranasinghe who is six months into his new portfolio and rued that his predecessors sat on the job.

The consistent cry of Sri Lankans for justice and fair-play in the selection of players and athletes will also be a thing of the past if Minister Ranasinghe keeps his promise of installing what he called a Sports Authority that will expose behind-the-scene deals.

The Sports Authority, Minister Ranasinghe said, will stop political interference, throw out “paper clubs” and ensure Sri Lanka will be represented by clean and deserving sportsmen and women.

“It is my job to make certain the rights of sports people are not violated. There will be no room for conflicts of interests,” he promised.