New SLRFU kicks off with a thud and bang

By S.R. Pathiravithana, Pic by Sanka Vidanagama.

The Lankan rugby quagmire deepened yesterday, when the members of the Rugby Referees Association taking up a tough stance against the newly elected headless SLRFU body at its headquarters at Reid Avenue.

The referees took up this stance in the wake of the new body canceling the referees AGM which was scheduled for yesterday.

Speaking on behalf of the referees their incumbent president Dilroy Fernando told the Sunday Times : “This is grossly unfair. The so called elected body is unconstitutional as it was held without a quorum. Even the Central Province Rugby Football Union which was represented at the meeting has not held their AGM for one and half years and thus are not eligible to vote at an AGM”.

SLRFU Vice President Lasitha Gunaratne chatting up with the irate SLSRFR members at its headquarters at Reid Avenue yesterday.

He continued saying “Our representatives have come here from all parts of the island and just imagine the inconvenience that they have to go through.”

When the SLSRFR members converged at Reid Avenue last morning there was a notice that read “At the AGM of the SLRFU which was conducted today (21 May 2010) by the Director General of Sports, the Department of Sports Development, office bearers of the SLRFU were elected.

As the Director General of Sports has instructed the SLRFU to conduct the Annual General Meeting of the Sri Lanka Society of Rugby Football Referees, we hereby inform you that the AGM of the SLSRFR which was scheduled for tomorrow (22nd May 2010) had been postponed and a fresh date and time will be announced after the initial Council Meeting of the SLRFU which has been scheduled for Wednesday, 25th May 2010 at 5 p.m. at the SLRFU Headquarters. This document was signed by SLRFU vice president elect Lasitha Gunaratne.

The 40 Referees who had converged at the SLRFU Headquarters then stayed on to meet VP Lasitha Gunaratne and then agreed to continue blowing at matches till the 30 May and if the AGM of the SLSFR is not held by then they would pocket their whistles.

Meanwhile the President of the Western Province Rugby Football Union Wimal Senanayake wrote to the Director General (acting) of the Department of Sports Development P. Hatharasinghe urging him to call off the new SLRFU appointments and hold fresh elections as the one conducted was not held in a proper manner.

It stated “In the foregoing circumstance, it is imperative (in terms of the SLRFU constitution) for the all the members of the SLRFU to be given at least 4 week’s notice prior to holding another AGM. Furthermore, the due AGM scheduled for 30th of March and 30th April 2010 being completely abandoned, you are required to call fresh nominations from all the members of the SLRFU, prior to conducting another AGM “

In another twist of events former Kandy SC skipper Lasantha Wijesooriya who was elected to the SLRFU Council declined to accept his election.

His letter to the Administration Manager of the SLRFU said according to the constitution of the SLRFU all office bearers must be elected at the AGM and it had not been done and added “As such I believe that my election is not valid and therefore, wish to inform you that I will serve in the council only if I am elected at a properly conducted general meeting”

Vice President of the SLRFU Lasitha Gunaratne explaining matters to the Sunday Times said “The Sports Minister taking the prevailing situation into consideration and using powers vested in him under the Sports Law decreed that the AGM could be held whatever the quorum present (Under the SLRFU Constitution four Provincial Unions have to be present at the AGM to complete the quorum but only the Central Province Union was present) and the election deemed constitutional.

However I must reiterate that the membership of the Western Province Rugby Football Union has not given the mandate to its administration to boycott the meeting and all clubs were present at the AGM on Friday. At the same time once the Council Meets on the 25th we will set the date for the next SLSRFR AGM on the 29th of May”

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