Court stops minister from dissolving SLC

Published: Tuesday, April 12, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Colombo:Sri Lanka's Court of Appeal has prevented sports minister Jeevan Kumaratunga from dismissing office bearers of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), officials said.

The court issued an order Monday restraining the minister from taking any action against the cricket governing body which he suspended last month, effectively taking away its recognition as a national sports body.

"The minister cannot dissolve Sri Lanka Cricket or cancel the registration of Sri Lanka Cricket as a National Association of Sports until the final determination of the matter," a court official said on Tuesday.

Sri Lanka Cricket, the island's richest sports body, petitioned the Court last month seeking the lifting of its suspension slapped by Kumaratunga.

SLC president Thilanga Sumathipala said the minister's action meant they could not function as an officially recognised national body, but it had no implication for their membership of the International Cricket Council (ICC).

The cricket body is incorporated here as a private company, but it is also registered with the sports ministry so that it can represent the country at international events.

Kumaratunga sacked SLC's governing body amid allegations of unspecified financial irregularities and appointed an interim committee to oversee the game.

However, the interim committee has not been able to take physical control over the assets of Sri Lanka Cricket which has remained shut since the crisis.

Kumaratunga's action came just three days after Sumathipala, a leading Colombo businessman, was unanimously elected the SLC's president.

No formal charges had been brought against the cricket body's management.

Sri Lanka's national team is currently in New Zealand, but officials said the crisis in the administration would not have any immediate implications for the team.

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