Court battle rattles School rugby
The schools rugby season continues to stumble along with battles on and off the field making headlines rather than the games itself. Isipatana who despite not having a ground of their own have produced no less than 51 national players, go to court tomorrow to clear themselves of a plaint apparently filed by a concerned parent of Royal. Then the Schools Rugby Football Association go to court on Wednesday to clarify what position they should take as they has received to the contradictory enjoining orders from the District Court of Colombo and the Kingswood saga continues to drag on.
An Isipatana official said it was unfair for a parent to deprive another of playing rugby as this could open the door for thousands of plaints being filed.
Royal College Principal Upali Gunesekera said: “I believe that Isipatana are going to court tomorrow so I cannot comment. All I can say is that the plaint was filed by somebody who felt that an injustice was done. We had a discussion on Monday and invited Isipatana on Friday but nobody turned up.”
Royal were due to play Isipatana yesterday, but the second enjoining order ensured that the game did not come off. When asked whether Royal would give Isipatana an alternate date, Mr. Gunesekera said: “There are different view points. We will have to sit down and have a discussion. Until such time I cannot comment. The Schools Association have to take the blame. All these issues should have been ironed out before the season began.”
Schools Rugby Association secretary Rohitha Indunil said they would be going to court on Wednesday to get the position on Isipatana clarified. In addition he said they were inviting the heads of schools for a discussion and the disciplinary inquiry against Kingswood would also be held on the same day. “We received an enjoining order in March preventing us from demoting Isipatana. Based on that decision we made a new format and started the league tournament. Then earlier this month we received another enjoining order that required us to prevent Isipatana from playing in the top division for two weeks. Thus we have to get this situation clarified,” Mr. Indunil said.
He said the knockout tournament was scheduled to start on July 10, but might be shifted to July 17 if the league had not been completed.
Some rugby playing schools suggest that the tournament be scrapped and friendly matches be played instead. They also feel that the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) should take over the running of the Schools Association.
The Sunday Times spoke the SLRFU vice president Asanga Seneviratne who said: “We foresaw something of this nature happening before the season started. It was with that in mind that we asked Chief Executive Officer Dilroy Fernando to invite the heads of schools for a discussion. Unfortunately only one school turned up. There is no point in griping about the situation now. However I do believe that the way things are going the tournament should be scrapped. At the end of the day rugby is the loser. This is supposed to be the feeder system for the national grid. But with the haphazard way the tournament has been organized how can one expect young players to have enthusiasm for the game. In addition if we were organizing this tournament we could have got better sponsorships and there would been have more transparency. It is certainly something we will have to look at very seriously.”