Vidyartha Saga was reminiscent of the judgments of King KekilleView(s):
“Life is sort and to enjoy is soon.” This was written on the back of a three wheeler. I could not get any idea of what was being conveyed. When you sit back and think there are similar incidents happening in rugby. Do you understand what is happening and or are its statements properly constructed to give a meaning to what is expected for the future?
Speaking to Lasitha Gunaratne the Vice President of the SLRFU I was a little confused when he remarked that the decision of the Vidyartha Saga was reminiscent of the judgments of King Kekille. Probed further he said the real culprits have not been punished while the punished are those who are expected to play in the future. He commented that he is not saying that there should not have been a suspension.While the school is punished and through it the players of the future are punished the perpetrators of the crime are getting off. The Bandara who played in place of another Bandara can play for a club including the services or even represent the country as no action has been taken. Nothing about his involvement has so far been reported to the governing body for rugby.
We have known that the schools association hierarchy has been taking the position that they are not under the control of the SLRFU but are under the Education Ministry. This is the time to realize that when you take the greater interest of the sport the action that the schools section can take is limited as the boy is not in school. Otherwise the matter has to be reported to the Police. That again is a long drawn out affair. The shorter route will be to accept that there is a governing body for rugby and bring the issue to their attention even of it means swallowing ones pride. This requires acknowledging that rugby is governed under the rules and regulations of the IRB to whom the SLRFU and its constituent bodies are bound, That paves the way for the SLRFU to take action using the clause of the code of conduct where the participants cannot bring the game into disrepute . If the union takes action it will be left for the player to seek redress and the shoe will now be on the other foot. Similarly take the other twenty two players of the squad of twenty three. Are we to assume that none of these people were aware that there was an outsider playing with them? Some of them will leave to play elsewhere and will be grabbed by others who want their school to win and do not matter how they do it.
The other issue as reported is that action has been taken on the tournament rules. Like the laws of the game the first requirement is for the tackler to release the tackled player and then the need to release the ball follows. In this case punishment has been meted using the tournament rules. What comes before the tournament rules are the rules and regulations of the education ministry. These rules have criteria of eligibility for a student to stay in school. By playing it is assumed that the player has fulfilled the requirement to stay in school. This may also require signing or marking an attendance register as well as being on the schools registers. If these requirements were flouted: what action has been taken when you are punishing those who are to play in the future. This is where the decisions are reminiscent of King Kekille. The masters who were responsible can come back in one year. But the Boys! This is an issue that is applicable to other cases of wrong doing has been accepted. Some of these schools have been doing this repeatedly and punishment has not been a deterrent. Last week at the schools all island U20 tournament a school that took part on day one did not take the field on day two. This is not the first time this has been done by the school from Kandy. Poor losers and bad sportsman is a very limited observation. What is the action that will be taken against those responsible for this type of incorrect guidance?
As I was reliably informed, points were added to all schools that lost their games against Vidyartha which is basically an award of a win. The question is where does one award a win and alter the points? The school is disqualified and they need to be punished and through the system adopted you have rewarded or punished other schools. The close mention I could find is that of eligibility (residence) in the IRB regulations. Where if an ineligible player is found to have taken part the country is fined but there is no mention of the effect on match results.
The issue is only a part of a greater problem arising of a need to win because there is money that is spent and the funds are brought by well wishers in the name of “old boys” who want a result. The wound is not small and beneath gangrene has set. It is not only in schools but in clubs too you find the statement made that we have spent this amount of money. This means we have to win!
Vimal Perera is a former Rugby Referee, coach and Accredited Referees Evaluator IRB
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