Demonstrators denounce BCCSL sacking

Published: Friday, March 30, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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Colombo: Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of the Sri Lankan capital Colombo Friday to denounce the sacking of the country's Cricket Board. More than 2,000 demonstrators marched from the city hall to the Sports Ministry waving banners and shouting slogans in support of Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka (BCCSL) that was dissolved on Wednesday after it lost a legal battle over plans to hold an election on Saturday. ''We want elections to be held as soon as possible. It is our right,'' Anura Weerasinghe, secretary of a regional cricket association, told Reuters. A four-member interim committee has been appointed to run the Board until elections are held. This is the country's second stopgap cricket administration in two years. An interim committee ran Sri Lankan cricket for several months when the Board was crippled by litigation after armed intruders disrupted an election in 1999. ''Minister hands off cricket,'' read one placard as the protestors handed over a petition to Sports Minister Lakshman Kiriella demanding that fresh elections are called immediately. Just before it was dissolved, BCCSL had set May 6 as the new date for the election. Lawyers for board president Thilanga Sumathipala tried unsuccessfully to overturn Monday's court order on the grounds that notice for Saturday's vote was not properly issued. Kiriella said he had no choice but to dissolve the Board after it failed to furnish proper accounts ahead of the election. On Monday, the Board sacked chief executive Dhammika Ranatunga on charges of ''a financial nature'' soon after his brother, Prassanna, announced he would not seek re-election as vice-president because of corruption in the cricket administration. Both men, brothers of Arjuna Ranatunga who led Sri Lanka to its 1996 World Cup victory, are members of Sri Lanka's most powerful cricketing family, which has been involved in a long-running feud with the Board. (c) Reuters Limited. Click here for Restrictions

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