Thatscricket - News - SL confirms newest venue for tri-series

Published: Thursday, July 19, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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Colombo: Sri Lanka's cricket authorities on Monday finally ended a dispute over the fate of the country's newest international venue by confirming three One-day matches there this month.The Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka (BCCSL) said in a statement that three One-day Internationals in the triangular tournament involving India and New Zealand would be played at the months-old Dambulla Stadium.The One-day International series begins on July 18 and ends on August 5 with the finals played in Colombo. Three matches are scheduled in Dambulla.The future of the venue remained in limbo following a row last month between the Buddhist clergy and the cricket Board over playing the tri-nation tournament there. The cricket Board had been in two minds after issuing a statement last month that no matches would be played at the Dambulla Stadium until a dispute over its ownership was settled.The Dambulla Stadium built in a record 150 days and at a cost of over 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 maintained that they leased the property to the then cricket Board, which has since been sacked by Sports Minister Lakshman Kiriella. Kiriella has accused the previous cricket Board management of financial irregularities. The construction of the Dambulla stadium is also the subject of a probe.Buddhist monks in the area argue that everything was done above board and threatened to take to the streets if matches were not played in Dambulla, 150 kilometres (93 miles) north of here.Sri Lanka's Buddhist Affairs ministry had raised doubts over the legality of a temple in the area leasing its property to the cricket Board to build the stadium.The stadium was initiated by former head of the cricket Board, Thilanga Sumathipala, whose elected board was sacked by Kiriella in March. The new Board is currently embroiled in several court cases over the dismissal of Sumathipala's management team.

Copyright AFP 2001

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