Colombo Telegraph

Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union: Is Sports Minister Navin On A “Rajapaksa” Witch Hunt ?

K.D.S. Ruwanchandra the Deputy General of the Ministry of Sports has officially served a letters to the Executive Committee of the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union(SLRFU) headed by Asanga Seneviratne informing almost all of them that they cannot contest the scheduled ‘Annual General Meeting’ which is due to be held shortly. “Surprisingly no reason has been given for the disqualification!” Seneviratne told ‘Colombo Telegraph”.

Asanga Seneviratne with Mahinda Rajapaksa

“This letter comes from a directive given by the Minister of Sport Navin Dissanayake who now appears to be more on a sporting ‘witch hunt’ going on to do whatever it takes to wipe out anyone who was deemed to have any close ties with the former Rajapaksa regime, even if it means that the now experienced steady growth of rugby football both locally and internationally is to be stopped dead in its tracks. If this is not truly an example of one ‘cutting his nose to spite his face’ then that idiom may have to find another definition.” said a former rugby player who did not wish to be identified.

It is well known fact that Asanga Seneviratne is a close associate of the Rajapaksa family.

The only exception made here is where Group Captain Nalin De Silva the current Secretary of the SLRFU is the only one who has been granted permission to contest. De Silva has already served 3 years as Secretary of the SLRFU as has Seneviratne as President and Gunaratne as Vice President. “Allowing De Silva to contest and not Seneviratne and Gunaratne is the epitome of discrimination” the former rugby player further said.

This ruling comes out of the blues with the Sport Minister Navin Dissanayake arbitrarily formulating a gazette on the 25th of March 2015 claiming advice obtained from a junior member in the AG’S Department specifying that anyone who has served in the EXCO for more than four years cannot hold office any longer. He has also gone on to record that this ruling is in retrospect and is effective collectively to a person who has held any executive position within the EXCO. “This is completely contradictory to the Sports Law that is in effect from 15th January 2013 which governs our land. Also strangely this change has not been approved in parliament as yet, but Minister Dissanayke finds it fit to be implemented.” Asanga Seneviratne told Colombo Telegraph.

However many knowledgeable sporting pundits who contacted Colombo Telegraph are of the view that the ruling should have been with effect from the date the Sports Law was amended which was the 15th of January 2013 rather than take it into effect retrospectively by collectively adding up all the years served in all posts.

It is also most interesting to note that most ardent followers of the sport seem relieved now that the ‘Rajapaksa siblings’ no longer control the sport of rugby in the country. On January 30th, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s eldest son MP Namal Rajapaksa wrote in his bolg; “Today, we’re incredibly saddened to see that the bitter, vengeful politics that took over this country after elections earlier this month, have even made its way to the sports sector. Just a few days ago, my brothers – Rohitha and Yoshitha – were both informed, by telephone, not to attend rugby practice. No reasons were given. They were just asked not to come.”

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