Colombo, June 27: Australia will have to bear the brunt of a curtailed Sri Lanka budget when they tour the island in August-September this year. That's because co-hosting the World Cup left Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) in debt and now the board has to cut corners by as much as two-thirds of the proposed budget.
Thus, security emerges as a worrisome issue for the visiting Australian team as the budget for such will be slashed from 50 million rupees ($445,000) to a mere 9 million rupees ($81,000). However, sports minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage has assured Cricket Australia (CA) that the quality of security will not be impacted.
"We are taking austerity measures because we can't even recover the monies we are spending," Aluthgamage told AFP. "There is no war now and I think there are enough officers in the military and police that could assure us very good security, at a fraction of the (original) cost."
SLC had budgeted a total of 300 million rupees ($ 2.67 million) for the tour that consists of three Tests, five ODIs had been reduced to a meagre 150 million rupees. The board will now look to cut costs down to 100 million rupees, the minister said. "Lots of frills like distributing hundreds of free tickets and banquet meals for invitees will be cut."
The expenditure while co-hosting the 2011 World Cup had left SLC in debt. The cost of building the stadiums at Pallekele and Hambantota left SLC in a debt of $23 million. The board pledged the newly-built stadiums as well as the income from upcoming tours as security to raise funds to pay for the World Cup.