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Thatscricket - News - BCCSL to give alternate venue in July

Published: Tuesday, June 19, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Colombo: Sri Lanka's cricket Board on Tuesday formally announced that the tri-nation tournament involving India and New Zealand will not be played at the country's brand new international stadium.The Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka (BCCSL) said that the three matches scheduled at the Dambulla Stadium in north-central Sri Lanka will not be played until a dispute over its ownership is settled.The Board did not give an alternate venue for the three matches to be played next month.The Dambulla stadium built in record 150 days and at a cost of Rs 300 million ($ 3.3 million) was the venue for the first One-day International between Sri Lanka and England on March 25.The stadium was built on land owned by a Buddhist temple. Monks maintain that they leased the property to the then cricket Board, which has since been sacked by Sports Minister Lakshman Kiriella. The Minister has accused the previous management of the cricket Board of financial irregularities. The construction of the Dambulla Stadium is also the subject of a probe.However, monks argue that everything was done above board and have threatened to take to the streets if matches are not played at the stadium located in a rural farming area.The country's senior monk, Udugama Buddharakkitha of the Asgiriya chapter, last week said Buddhists will protest if a top official in the Buddhist affairs ministry tries to override the clergy.The official had raised doubts over the legality of a temple in Dambulla leasing its property to the BCCSL to build the stadium.The stadium was initiated by former head of the cricket Board, Thilanga Sumathipala, whose elected Board was sacked by Sports Minister Kiriella in March.The cricket Board is currently embroiled in several court cases over the dismissal of Sumathipala's management team as well the minister's action to appoint an interim panel.Cricket sources said the decision not to play in Dambulla may be a political move to spite Sumathipala who has argued that the venue would be useful when it is the rainy season in the rest of the country.

AFP
Copyright AFP 2001

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