Sumathipala enters football but dirty games continue | Sunday Observer

Sumathipala enters football but dirty games continue

10 September, 2023
Dacshitha Sumathipala launches out on his campaign (Pic by Sudath Malaweera)
Dacshitha Sumathipala launches out on his campaign (Pic by Sudath Malaweera)

A new football faction headed by Dacshitha Sumathipala expressed confidence that his team will win the election of office bearers of Football Sri Lanka (FSL) to be held on September 29 at the Football Headquarters through a secret ballot.

But it is not clear whether he will be allowed to contest after his nomination was rejected.

Sumathipala is the candidate seeking election as the president of FSL and said he is assured of more support coming from 36 League members as he fields a team of former players and members of leagues with experience in administration.

This was revealed at a media conference held at Nippon Hotel on Thursday (7).

Sumathipala’s nomination was rejected by the Elections and Appeal Committee stating that he has failed to meet the stipulated criteria.

But Sumathipala said that it was a well planned strategy executed against his group by their opponents.

“I firmly say that both the Election and Appeal Committees were questionable in what they did and all their decisions were pre-determined. It was an agenda by the rival camp, which was very disturbing and annoying to all of us,” said Sumathipala.

“As a team we are ready to face any challenges and will overcome all obstacles initiated against us. My team consists of people who dribbled the football from the grassroots to National level.

“What about my rival camp? How many have played the game? I invited them for a match between both camps but they just ignored me. I know they are not geared enough,” added Sumathipala.

He is being challenged by former Football Federation president Jaswar Umar who for reasons best known to him has secured the support of Dr. Manil Fernando who opposed him (Umar) at the last election.

He explained the legal aspects of his team’s rejection which he said was unfair by all means. He has written to the Asian Football Confederation and FIFA seeking justice.

He lamented that when he began his campaign he was alone and gradually built up the momentum to secure the support of over 30 leagues.

Sumathipala started with the support of only his own League, the Anuradhapura Football Association. His team consists of 13 members, including former Sri Lankan football players and professionals in various management fields.

He said his primary objective is to take the game to the villages and propagate the sport among all eager and determined players who were deprived of many facilities by past administrations.

He also emphasized the need to raise the standard of football at school level that was seen in the 1970s and 80s.

Sumathipala stressed that school football is the foundation of the sport’s growth in Sri Lanka and emphasized the importance of adhering to the country’s laws, the Football Constitution and Sports Law, pledging to follow the guidance of FIFA and AFC in the future.

Speaking at the conference Rohitha Fernando the vice president of the Wennappuwa FA said that they will work openly with transparency to improve the game among the people and said that all 64 Leagues want to move on further.

Representing the Deniyaya League, Hashini Ariyaratne, a professional banker and former Sri Lankan women’s football captain highlighted the challenges faced by the women’s team and promised to prioritize women’s football development.