SLC President Thilanga Sumathipala accepts connection with a betting company

SLC President Thilanga Sumathipala has been under fire recently.

Sri Lanka Cricket President, Thilanga Sumathipala speaks during a press conference in Colombo on July 6, 2016. Sri Lanka's cricket board said it will seek compensation from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) over the wrongful suspension of wicket keeper Kusal Perera. Perera was suspended during Sri Lanka's tour of New Zealand last December after WADA said he had tested positive for a banned substance, a finding the laboratory later revised. / AFP / LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI (Photo credit should read LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)
Sri Lanka Cricket President, Thilanga Sumathipala. (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) President Thilanga Sumathipala is on the firing lines, firstly due to the poor performance of the Sri Lankan team against India in both the Test series and ODIs. He was also criticised for the unprofessional behaviour of the SLC. Captain Angelo Mathews resigned after the series defeat to Zimbabwe, while the selection committee too, offered their resignation following the whitewash against India.

Sumathipala hit the hammer on his own foot after he accepted his links to the gambling industry in open Court during cross-examination in his defamation case against former World Cup winning skipper turned politician Arjuna Ranatunga. The case has been dragging on for 12 years (since 2005) and the full report was out only last Thursday (24 August) where Sumathipala lost the case. According to page 14 of the Court report, Sumathipala had accepted the fact that Sporting Star is a book making business and he and his family are associated with it.


Direct violation of  Sports law

As per he was asked if Sporting Star is a general book making business, to which Sumathipala said yes. He was also asked if he and his family is famously connected to it. The SLC president didn’t deny the allegations and accepted the links. Sumathipala and his family members own a betting company. They are also the owners of a leading media house and publication company, apart from owning a sports gear company.

Sporting star is one of the biggest chains in the betting industry. All three are in direct violation of Sri Lanka’s sports law, which clearly states that a person who is associated with the gaming industry, Media Company or sports goods selling company, is not eligible to hold a post in the National Sports Association.

The 2005 case

Sumathipala had faced a charge from the ICC way back in 2005. The ICC CEO in 2005 Malcolm Speed requested Sumathipala to refrain from attending meetings until the various charges against him were put to rest and the ICC Ethics Officer’s report on Sumathipala dealt with it.

ICC Ethics Officer Oliver Stocken, a Director of the ICC Audit Committee, conducted an inquiry on Sumathipala pertaining to his business dealings and possible connection to the gaming industry and the publication Sporting Star under section 7.2 of the Code of Ethics, which concerns the involvement of directors in betting, gaming or gambling.