Sumathipala set to be Lankan board president

Published: Sunday, March 6, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Thilanga Sumathipala is all set to become the president of the Sri Lankan cricket board for the fourth time. He was the only candidate when nominations closed and is set to be elected unopposed on 27 March. Dashing batsman and former captain Aravinda de Silva is likely to be his deputy.

A controversial figure, Sumathipala is still awaiting trial on fraud charges. That's not the only charge attributed to him. He is accused of altering a passport to enable an alleged gangster, Dhammika Amarasinghe, to attend the 1999 World Cup in England. A second charge alleges that Sumathipala also paid 1,500 from the board's funds for his travel expenses.

It's worth recalling that Amarasinghe was shot dead last year as he was being led into a court room to face murder charges.

Sumathipala, was also sacked by the Sri Lankan sports minister in March 2000 over alleged irregularities in awarding contracts to build a new cricket stadium.

However, the allegations were not proven and he was elected for a third term as president in June 2003. Surprisingly, he chose not to stand for re-election last year because of the ongoing legal proceedings and spent almost six months in custody before being released on bail.

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