Will the IRB buy this one?

The much awaited Annual General Meeting of the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union was held on Friday and was conducted by the Ministry of Sports. From the quorum only Central Province and Schools were present for this meeting. The nominations were for the Post of Vice President and Treasurer and two other council members. There is a talk that these nominations too are invalid as Central Province who proposed has not had its AGM nor have they submitted an Annual Report.

Whether IRB buys this as a duly elected body and has met the deadline set by them is what is left to be sorted out. I wrote in my column last week that the General Manager for the Asian Region for IRB had a meeting with the quorum members who have not attended the AGM.

This was done with a view to see that the members see a light at the end of the tunnel. He reported the outcome of the meeting which included a suggestion that new nominations be called while retaining the nominations already received. It was recommended that the Ministry follow the outcome of his meeting.

The Ministry decided that the meeting be conducted without the quorum so that an elected body is in place by accepting the nominations received. Only time will tell whether this is a good decision for sports or a precedence that will turn out to be a monster.

The quorum required for the council meeting is nine. The elected members and the eight “A” Division club representatives will be able to conduct a meeting. They also can appoint the rest of the council. The Vacant Positions of President and Secretary will have to be filled at an SGM as required by the constitution of the SLRFU. The constitution also provides for a representative form each of the provinces. Thus it can be claimed that the provinces are represented.

Therefore it is hoped that IRB will buy this Machiavellian plot as an elected body. If they fall back on the non adherence to the recommendation of calling for new nomination as non compliance, Sri Lankan Rugby is in for a tough time with its international relationship. China in the year 2008 did not participate in the Division One of the Five Nations tournament played in Chinese Taipei. Despite China being a powerful nation and IRB putting a lot of money for the development of the game the ARFU decided to relegate them.

They continue to fight in the A5N Division 2 tournament in order to climb up again. It has taken two years and it will be this year that they can win and return to Division one which still keep they them away from the Top 5 Nation series as they play along with Thailand , India and the Philippines. If Sri Lanka is by any stroke of bad luck taken off the list it means that we cannot participate in an International event nor can we host such an event.

Arabian Gulf will bow out of the A5N with a splendid victory over Korea following their win over Hong Kong. With the expansion of the game in the Gulf and the creation of new unions in the region the combined multi sate union the Arabian Gulf will cease to exist. Arabian Gulf in this last year of A5N did well to beat Hong Kong as well as Korea who are fighting not to be relegated.

Korea at this stage of the tournament lay at the bottom with Hong Second despite loosing to Arabian Gulf who is in third place.

At home the game goes on as the schools draw more crowds for their matches despite the entrance charges being considered expensive for key matches. Unless and until a major upset occurs the contenders for the league title are Royal and St. Peters who faced each other on Saturday. Key Matches left for Royal include Trinity, S. Thomas’ and Kingswood.

News is also that the player found helping himself has received a pardon form the highest authority in Sri Lanka. The question asked by many is why he did not exhaust the chain of appeal before seeking the intervention of the highest in the land. It is true that an appeal board could not be constituted. Why was it that an appeal was not made to the Minister of Sports the next level in the command chain? Probably some have all the luck and may mean setting precedence in the march for a Union which may find themselves redundant.

There was also a report of indiscipline reported from the schools where it is alleged that visiting schools players were assaulted by the players of the home team. I hope that the schools section and the Ministry of Education will step on the gas peddle to wipe out this form of unsavory behavior. In the meanwhile I noticed players taking on to themselves the duty to take on those who have left their schools and joined another. Poaching of players is nothing new and will stay on as schools will do all that is possible to stay on top. It happens in other countries too.

This happens in schools, universities as well as clubs where different names are given for such transfers. What needs to be done is to tighten the system of changing. This can be after discussion by the people involved who participants of the body that conducts the game. E.g. all schools are represented in the Sri Lanka Schools Rugby Football Association who is guided by the Ministry of Education. Advisory committees of schools can advise the school authorities on what should be taken up at the apex body in matters such as transfers. It is not at all a good example to display hostility at the grounds. It is not at all a good thing for players to get involved and try violence as a method to sort out problems that is best handled by elders.

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

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