Sunday, June 4, 2023

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Sri Lanka’s National Olympic Committee President Stresses Support for Elected Sports Bodies Amid Rugby Dispute

President of the National Olympic Committee Suresh Subramaniam of Sri Lanka dwelled upon the fact that once a body is duly elected in an affiliated Federation that comes preview of the International Olympic Committee the norm is that they stand by the said elected body.

The following is the transcription of the Sinhala Interview that was made with TV Channel “Derana”.

“Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe dissolved the existing Rugby Administration and appointed a Rugby Stabilisation Committee recently. The officials of the Sri Lanka Rugby in turn has stated that this appointed body is unacceptable. Meanwhile the National Olympic Committee also has written to rugby World Body stating that they will also not recognise Rugby Stabilisation Committee appointed by the Minister. They will only recognise duly elected sports bodies.

Meanwhile explaining the matter at hand the President of the NOC SL said “We are not in a position to reject any duly elected body. We will only recognise elected members. Recently World Rugby Body inquired from us as to what the real situation is? We could not lie we said that there was an election and we recognise only those are elected. Not only to rugby it is applicable to all sports which is under IOC banner. If the election was fraudulent it is a different situation, but, we cannot disfranchise a duly elected body. We are answerable to the IOC; the IOC rules and regulations are very clear. So we have to abide by the IOC stance. Very clearly we have to work within that framework. It’s not only we; every country that is involved with the IOC have to that we cannot act outside those stipulations. One must clearly understand that international bodies also work under the same norms, World Rugby and even FIFA work under the regulations of the IOC.

Q: The Minister of Sports has appointed body something similar to an interim body and they hold power at the Sri Lanka Rugby when how is your co-habitation with the appointed body?

A: Nobody had any discussions with us prior to formulating body. We do not know why it was appointed. We do not know if anyone had a problem with the Sri Lanka Rugby. In a situation of this nature it is very difficult to accept the present status quo. In short we will not accept this situation. If so there will come a time that we will not be able to work with any elected body. This is not a problem with the minister. This a problem that has been designed by some hangers-on. They are liars they have some other ulterior motives. That is the crux of this problem. The problem is that the Sports Minister should have consulted us before arriving at a decision of this nature. Or else he should have given us the task of inquiring into problem.

Q: Has a World Body written to us about the situation?

A; Yes, they did. They wrote us and inquired as to what was really taking place. In turn we explained the real situation. We cannot lie. We said that we recognise only the elected body.

Q: So that means you are not ready to recognise the body that has been appointed by the Sports Minister.

A; We cannot and will not accept this appointed body. If we do that the IOC will question us. They will never accept this status quo. It is not only Sri Lanka; it will start mushrooming all over the globe. It will become a bigger problem to them. If so another Federation elsewhere will start that and it may become an epidemic.
Then how are have control of state of affairs at the IOC.

Q; The Minister do have the powers to appoint such committees.

A: They may have the powers do so! That is a different story. If they said that there were irregularities or financial frauds and if those inquiries proved that accusations are right; that will be a different explanation. If the minister has ratifications, we certainly will fall in line with the minister’s point of view. But, that was not the situation. Someone did not like someone’s face and they were asked to pack their bags. We cannot let that occur.

“Just for moment forget the minister, a few from the Sri Lanka Rugby gang up and inform that they are the governing body for rugby; can we accept them? We work with a committee that is duly elected.

“At the same time I am sorry the suspension was removed in court, and Asia Rugby also lifted the suspension. But then again there came another suspension. We still do not why did that happen; for any action there has to be a reason. We deal with thing in the manner stipulated only by the IOC. We have no dealings with Asia Rugby. However, if they ask us we are ready to explain why! It was only the World Ruby who inquired about this and we have explained things to them. All Olympic Sports work under us. When are in a dilemma it is our duty to guide and help them.

Q; Has the minister discussed any of this with you?

A; No has not. If they asked us we would explained the status quo, just because there are items in the sports law that is not sufficient. That is why when they were taken to courts relief orders were issued and the same happened when Sri Lanka Cricket took them to courts. That means that there is something wrong at that end.

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