The shroud of doubt that was cast over the finances of Sri Lanka Cricket still persists, in spite of the forensic audit that was ordered by Sports Minister Harin Fernando, in January this year.
A cricket insider speaking to Lanka News Web said “The letter requesting a forensic audit was handed over to the Auditor General in January 28, 2019 covering about twenty areas which were in question and the minister of sports was expected to have the completed report within two weeks. Now it is almost mid May, but the report is still to see the light of day.
“The irony is that within that time frame the previous auditor general Gamini Wijesinghe retired and Chulantha Wickremasinghe has taken over the task of completing the investigation. The dilemma is without the completion of this report a lot of alleged misdemeanours are still under the carpet”.
One such area is what transpired during the Nidahas Trophy triangular series, which still has a lot of round corners. At the end of the series, Sri Lanka Cricket announced a record Rs.940 million profit , yet the insider says in spite of that there are more questions which are yet to be answered. He says the end of that rope leads to the forthcoming Sri Lanka Cricket TV rights which are due to be signed in March 2020.
He said “in this scenario this audit very important to the game of cricket in this country. What we are still ascertaining is what the cause of this delay is? The next TV rights deal is now around the corner and the deal which would settle the main source of income for Sri Lanka cricket for the next seven years.
“The twist in the story comes that this point. For the Nidahas Trophy triangular the bulk of the work was handed over to an Indian Company not following the correct procedure. It is alleged that even the customary three quotations were called for. It is even alleged that some of the monies were did not end up at the right ledger. All decisions pertaining to this deal were taken only by the management committee at that time.”
Now the shylocks who doled out the money during the Nidahas Trophy is now fighting for their pound of flesh and the plum in offer is the SLC TV rights. Right now there are behind the curtain negotiations that are going – both -- at the SLC and the Ministry of Sports. Now the question at hand is; would we have to have to give the TV rights of Sri Lanka ‘Ten’ fold at the end of the day on a mere platter?
PS: Talking about oddities; the radio broadcasting rights of the 2019 World Cup has been given to Thilakawardena Textile, at Kiribathgoda. The next time would it be some Sumithra Groceries at some odd corner of the island?
By the Foghorn