Interim how long is that word?
An interim is an interval of time between one event, process, or period and another. The interim body appointed for the Administration of rugby in Sri Lanka I believed was for the purpose of getting together and putting in place a system to conduct the elections of the Rugby Football Union following the impasse with the resignation of the President and the Secretary.

They were to fill the void between the period of holding elections and having an elected body in place. They got about their job as common to the society we live in by issuing statements of the many irregularities that they perceived has happened. Thus time was bought for the body to be more permanent than being an interim. The most important bone that they had to chew but still being unable to digest was the change of the constitution that was considered the focal point of all problems. Thus the base was set to carry on for a period of more than they were expected to be. This also resulted in them being involved with running the game. Possibly the only thing they can claim to have done.

This interim body that issued statements at will probably did so to keep their presence alive while the undertaker was seen taking a peep into the Reid Avenue Office, wondering how he could lay to rest a set of Jumbo Dumbos who had taken the game to another level of disgustful discussion. This game that was known to be one of the best administered is now reaching a stage of being ostracized by the International community. This is because the governing types of the game recognize only an elected body and not appointed ones. They believe that appointment results in governmental control; in other words being politicized. With International Rugby Board threatening to pull the plug there is a promise of elections, end February. However the provinces lament that so far they have not received a copy of the constitution. They believe the final that has been has seen changes to what was approved at the Special General Meeting
While we have had many things said about the game none or most have been towards helping the development and for maintaining the stature the game enjoyed. It now appears that the administrators that are the temporary ones are seen to be undressing while living in glass houses.

They now have drawn the attention of political commentators as well as politicians. This week the going on at the union was given a new twist as attention was drawn on a politician talk show on TV. This was followed the next day in a morning talk show over the Radio.

Possibly never in the History of the game in Sri Lanka, which is over 100 years, has rugby drawn so much of attention. The best way to answer this attention is to add another laughable statement, such as to gloat over what is good for the game when even the red brethren talk about rugby.

The crux of the issue is about the interim committee coming into the limelight due to a Rs. 10.8 million air ticket bill that has been sent by the travel agent. It was reported in a morning daily last week that President of the interim body Dr. Gunasekera had said that he was unaware of this transaction. Gunasekera is quoted of having said: “Somebody had requested the air tickets in an official capacity using the SLRFU letter heads. This had been done without prior approval of the Rugby Union interim committee. We (SLRFU - IC) have nothing to do with regards to these air tickets. We did not order any tickets and never gave any approval for a transaction of this nature” This is not the first time that ignorance has been claimed. When one player from the suspended lot attended practice and the news was made public there was a statement attributed that he was unaware of the said issue. The perplexing question is why somebody like Doc Gunasekera who has contributed to the game in various capacities wants to stay on heading a group that does not seem to be working in congruence.

Coming live via phone the President virtually confirmed what was reported in the press. Gunratne the CEO has a different view in that the payment is to be made once the sponsorship money is received from Keels the main sponsor of the Carlton Sevens. He opined that the travel agent being a member of the same company as the main sponsor is aware. He believes that the comment attributes to the travel agent was a passing comment in the course of small talk as known parties meet waiting for a lift.
It seems that in a committee of four dominated by two facilitated by the CEO does not seem to know what each other is doing. I say dominated by two as I understand since the additional two were appointed around August they have possibly met once. That too was for a hastily called meeting where neither minutes nor accounts circulated. No accounts by the people who were talking about how bad the financial management by others was.

Wishing everybody a rugby filled 2010.

Vimal Perera is a former Rugby Referee, coach and Accredited Referees Evaluator IRB
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