It was noted that the Sunday Times newspaper published on September 24, 2017 carried an article on the Special General Meeting (SGM) of the Sri Lanka Aquatic Sports Union (SLASU). We would like to clarify on the details of the said article as it may project a wrong picture of the current state of the [...]


“SGM clashes with national aquatic events”

Right of reply

It was noted that the Sunday Times newspaper published on September 24, 2017 carried an article on the Special General Meeting (SGM) of the Sri Lanka Aquatic Sports Union (SLASU). We would like to clarify on the details of the said article as it may project a wrong picture of the current state of the Association.

The constitution of the SLASU allows the ordinary members to nominate two delegates to attend any meeting of its general congress. Therefore, the clubs are able to nominate any individual apart from the athletes, coaches and officials who were involved in the above championships. Moreover, it is our belief that the involvement of such individuals in the policy making process may have adverse effects as they might have a “conflict of interest” which even the sports law of the country tries to eradicate with its regulations.

Further I would like to note to you that the SGM was called to approve not only the accounts of the preceding year, but also the financial accounts for the years 2014 and 2015 during which the individual quoted by your article was the general secretary.  It is with great pride I inform you that the SLASU’s current committee has managed to secure over 6 million rupees in its bank account within a short period of around 2 years.

However, it is quite amusing to note that the quoted individual who was the immediate past General Secretary and his committee left SLASU bank accounts at a loss making state after informing the membership that the then President even funded the federation from his own finances to keep it afloat. The financial crunch they faced was so severe that even the outstanding payments for the EPF and ETF of the employee of the SLASU office had to be settled by the current committee.

“How did the current committee managed to save over Rs. 6 million, while the previous committee made a loss after controlling the federation for such long time?” would also have been an interesting and a timely question during the said interview.  It is no secret that under the current office, aquatic sports in the country have reached new heights that were unheard of in the Sri Lankan Aquatic Sports history. This is not merely a popularity statement; but a factual one. I would like to remind you that swimming was the sports which obtained the highest number of gold for Sri Lanka at the South Asian Games 2016 in India while it was the only sport to win medals for the country at the Commonwealth Youth Games 2017 in Bahamas.

We even saw a Sri Lankan athlete reaching the Olympic Qualification standard in Swimming for the first time. Moreover, during the current tenure, team Sri Lanka won the 8th Asia Pacific Water Polo Championship 2016 in Hong Kong which again is a feat achieved for the first time.  Hosting the inaugural South Asian Aquatic Championship 2016 (SAAC 2016) in Sri Lanka with the participation of all the South Asian Countries certainly is the pinnacle of this term.

It was the only time we have seen an international aquatic event which comprised of swimming, diving, water polo and open water swimming events organised in the island. Apart from the fabulous performances by the Sri Lankan swimmers during this competition, we witnessed an international water polo match on our home soil since 1978. Indeed it was a massive project which involved a couple of hundred of age group athletes from SA countries, an equal number of officials, volunteers and support staff. However, the careful planning of the championships with professionals volunteering to assist the organizing of the event facilitated us to make a profit of over Rs 2 million. This has enabled SLASU to allocate finances to purchase its own electronic equipment for Diving, Water Polo and Synchronise swimming which were previously unavailable or rented from third party suppliers. Moreover, all the accounts related to the above event has been audited and approved by the executive committee as well.  Although above mentioned are some of the international honours received by Sri Lankan aquatic sports during the current tenure, it is quite evident that the restructured local frame work of competitions, aquatic sports development program and importantly the unbiased selections paved the way for such achievements.  It is ironical that certain individuals who pretend to care for the sport are trying to undermine the progress made by SLASU in its sports performance while making it a sustainable organisation. Therefore, we sincerely believe that you will assist us to set the record straight on the current affairs and the position of SLASU.

Deputy Editor Sports note: The Sunday Times – Sports takes note of the views expressed by the current General Secretary. However, the letter fails to address most of the specific allegations made by Mr. Ameer, the former General Secretary.

When contacted for his views post the SGM, Ameer said, “I did not attend as I had committed to referee and conduct the national synchronized swimming competition on behalf of SLASU. I hear that the accounts have been approved. I have voiced my concerns but if the general membership thinks it is not so significant then so be it”.

Commenting on his views of the right of reply from SLASU, he said, “I do not wish to make this a war of words. The Sports Ministry administration and policies were different back then and we’ve had to spend on pool hire, etc but now they are subsidized. I am not disputing the performance or the profitability. The issue is that they are not going about things in a proper manner, this will affect the federation in the future”.

The Sunday Times – Sports also learns that the current General Secretary has tendered his resignation during the course of the week.

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