Ten Sports to sue Sri Lanka Cricket
By S.R. Pathiravithana

Chris McDonald

Is Sri Lankan cricket about to fall into another cash abyss very soon? Taj TV whose long term deal that ran from 2004 to 2011 was cancelled by the Sports Minister recently pointing out flaws in its 2006 addendum are not willing to take it lying low. “This action by Sri Lanka Cricket had hurt our prestige and a world wide reputation very badly and we are not prepared take it lying low. We will fight with all ammunition that we possess and we will leave no stone unturned till we see the right thing is done or we are properly compensated,” said Chris McDonald the Chief Executive Officer of Ten Sports who is the parent company of Taj TV in an exclusive interview with The Sunday Times.

“As far as we are concerned we have not done anything wrong, and we feel that how the SLC has treated us is unjustified. Therefore, we will seek justice”. It looks as if the Lankan cricket is in for cash strapped period once again. Even prior to this Sri Lankan cricket went through a very lean period after WSG Nimbus stalled their cash inflow when they were seeking compensation against their TV termination at that time.

The International Arbitration centre (SAIC) awarded damages in 2003 December to World Sports Group Nimbus (WSG) against the then Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka (BCCSL) for wrongfully terminating the agreement for Television and Broadcasting Rights between the BCCSL and WSG in 2001.

The award of damages stood at US$ 7,719,929 minimum and Sing $ 649,062/40 as at 31-12-2006.
WSG thereafter obtained a Marevea injunction (freezing the assets of Sri Lanka cricket) in the British Virgin Islands against Sri Lanka cricket in the high court of Justice Virgin Islands – claim No 66 of 2004. The reason being that ICC of which Sri Lanka is a full member, has a commercial company known as ICC development (International) Limited (IDI) incorporated in the British Virgin Islands. All Commercial activities of the ICC is operated under IDI. Thus, any sums of money, which the SLC is entitled to as a member of ICC, is remitted by IDI.

Thereafter WSG also filed action in England, Sri Lanka and Malaysia to register the previously mentioned arbitration award. The rational was that ICC champions Trophy 2005 was played in England, and thus a move to block money that SLC was to receive from the ICC Champions Trophy. The action in Malaysia was to block the monies that were due from the Asia Cup 2004 and in Sri Lanka because SLC is registered in Sri Lanka.

When the deadlock was going on and the SLC was feeling the pinch SLC’s lawyers in Malaysia M/s Shook Lin & Bok and Dr. Harsha Cabral President’s Counsel advised them to enter into a settlement with WSG amounting to US$ 5 million and the payment spread over six months. Plus this SLC also had to settle legal fees too.

Thereafter the SLC, under then president Mohan de Silva entered into an agreement with Ten Sports amounting to Rs. 33,550,000 to which the addendum was added in 2007, which the final deal would have read as US$ 52 million. The SLC cancelled the above agreement on 9th July on a directive of the Ministry of Sports.

SLC not represented at today’s ICC meeting
Meanwhile in another development, Sri Lanka which is named as the alternate venue for the Champion’s Trophy will not be represented by anyone at the ICC emergency meeting which will be held in Dubai today.

The ICC has invited all eight participating countries of the Champions Trophy for an emergency discussion on the safety of the participating teams at the Champions Trophy which is due to be held in Pakistan in September.

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