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Thatscricket - News - Lanka SC upholds Ranatunga's plea to head BCCSL

Published: Thursday, January 16, 2003, 23:30 [IST]
 
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Colombo: Sri Lanka's legendary cricket captain, Arjuna Ranatunga, won a legal battle on Friday in his bid to head the country's cricket administration.The Supreme Court in Colombo upheld a petition by Ranatunga, a member of Parliament, that a proposed Sports Law, which debars politicians from holding office in sports bodies, was a "violation of his fundamental rights".The state was ordered to pay Rs 50,000 ($ 520) as legal costs to the former cricket captain who piloted Sri Lanka to its 1996 World Cup win.Sports Minister Johnston Fernando had last February introduced the proposed law in parliament with the aim to de-politicise the country's sports administration.Ranatunga, however, saw the yet-to-be-passed Law as a tool to debar him from becoming the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka (BCCSL)."When I heard about the policy, I felt that someone was trying to drag me out of sports, an area in which I wanted to help," Ranatunga said.He joined politics after retiring from international cricket in August 2000 and was elected a member of Sri Lanka's parliament a year later.Ranatunga and his father, Reggie, sit in parliament as members of the main Opposition People's Alliance.The court ruling has paved the way for a red-hot battle between Ranatunga and former cricket chief, Tilanga Sumathipala, whenever the elections for BCCSL president are held."I want to stand for the presidency and believe that I should do as soon as possible," Ranatunga said citing Sri Lanka's recent poor showing in world cricket."If the situation is not arrested the day will not be long before even lowly Bangladesh start beating us," he said.Interim committees have governed the BCCSL since March 2001 when the then government sacked the Sumathipala administration.No date has been fixed for the next election.

AFP
Copyright AFP 2001

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