SLC suspension – ICC CEO Geoff Allardice meets Sri Lanka sports minister, president


ICC CEO Geoff Allardice has met with Sri Lanka’s new sports minister, as well as the country’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe, during a brief visit undertaken to gain a better understanding of the political situation in the country as it relates to cricket administration. In November, the ICC imposed a suspension on Sri Lanka Cricket’s membership, and subesequently stripped the country of its hosting rights of the Men’s Under-19 World Cup.

Following his meeting with Allardice, sports minister Harin Fernando posted on X (formerly Twitter) that the pair had had a “constructive discussion and a way forward for SLC”. Subsequent to that meeting, Allardice had also met President Wickremesinghe, with whom he is understood to have discussed potential changes to SLC’s constitution.

Allardice will now report his findings back to the ICC’s board, which is due to meet at the end of March, and are likely to have the matter of SLC’s membership on their agenda.

The ICC’s suspension of SLC had officially been predicated on perceived government interference. On November 6, previous sports minister Roshan Ranasinghe had sought to sack the entire SLC board, but another arm of Sri Lanka’s government – the judiciary – essentially reversed that decision on the following day, issuing a stay order on the minister’s gazette.

Several days later, however, the ICC’s board suspended SLC at the behest of SLC’s own officials, who were at the time at serious odds with then-sports minister Ranasinghe. They had requested the suspension as a means of staving off further interference.

With that minister now sacked, and a minister palatable to SLC now in place, board members have been internally confident SLC will be reinstated as a full member at the next board meeting.

This is the second trip to Sri Lanka by an ICC executive to discern the nature of Sri Lanka’s politics’ intersection with cricket. In mid-2023, ICC deputy chair Imran Khwaja came to Sri Lanka to investigate potential government interference. On that occasion Khwaja is understood not to have found immediate evidence to suspend the board.

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