The Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) administration, which was dissolved and ousted by a Special Gazette Notification on April 1, by the then Minister of Sports, was reinstalled on Friday, after Sri Lanka’s Court of Appeal issued an Interim Order suspending the enactments of the Gazette. This will allow the duly elected office bearers of SLR [...]


MoS intercepted!!!

Court of Appeal issues Interim Order suspending enactmements of Special Gazette Notification issued by Ministry of Sports (MoS)

The SLR Nippon Paint Club Rugby League 2022 is highly unlikely to resume - File pic

The Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) administration, which was dissolved and ousted by a Special Gazette Notification on April 1, by the then Minister of Sports, was reinstalled on Friday, after Sri Lanka’s Court of Appeal issued an Interim Order suspending the enactments of the Gazette.

This will allow the duly elected office bearers of SLR to be in office, ending a 43-day takeover by a Competent Authority, appointed by the then Minister of Sports, with the case pending. However the order will be in effect until June 30, which will give the current SLR administration enough time to resolve all pending matters and prepare for a proper election or an Annual General Meeting (AGM), which could provide a permanent remedy to the series of stalemates.

“Our focus is solely on the sport and its growth. Whoever comes to serve SLR steps in with that pure intention, because all of them have played the game at different levels. That’s one of the main reason why rugby has survived for nearly 150 years in Sri Lanka. We mark this as a great victory in the name of sports,” SLR President Rizly Ilyas stated.

With the latest development, with the elected body returning to power, SLR will focus its aim on the National 7s sides for the upcoming Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, but it is highly unlikely that the stalled SLR Nippon Paint Club Rugby League 2022 will make a comeback.

“The downside of this entire drama was that the Gazette Notification issued stalled the Nippon Rugby League which was entering its last two weeks. It was very evident that the competent authority could not run the remaining two weeks of the tournament. By this, the game of rugby suffered as well as the players, coaches, administrators and sponsors. We’ll put back what happened and SLR’s first step would be to hold its Executive Committee and Council meetings to discuss the way forward with the league tournament and the Commonwealth Games 7s as top priority,” Ilyas added.

With the limited time available, pending the case of the writ application made by SLR against the Ministry of Sports, and the Interim Order issued on Friday (13) until end of June, Ilyas further stated that their main task would be to discuss about the AGM.

“With the blessings of the council, we hope to appoint an independent body as recommended by World Rugby (WR) and Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU), and we will make a request to the National Olympic Committee (NOC) to call and conduct the SLR AGM as per constitution”.

Until matters are fully sorted out, SLR will lay its sights on the high performance of the National 7s squads and Provincial Development Programme, in addition to focusing on sponsorships and finances. Further down the line the elected office will have to plan the event calendar for the 2022/2023 season kicking off with the Club Rugby League from November.

“Friday’s court decision allows SLR to function as usual in accordance to the constitution, but due to the drama that was created by persons with vested interests and to take over office of the SLR illegally, I as the sitting President, will suggest to the SLR Council to nominate an independent body. With the blessings of the Council, SLR will move forward for the AGM and democratically let anyone come forward and be elected”.

The Gazette Notification issued on April 1, did not clarify as to why or on what grounds the so-called ‘temporary suspension’ comes to effect, other than the ‘powers vested in Namal Rajapaksha, the Minister of Youth and Sports, under Section 32 (b) and 33 of Sports Act. No. 25 of 1973 and its amendments. It was later revealed that SLR was suspended due to holding council meetings with ‘suspended provincial bodies included. But SLR clarified that all matters related to the suspensions were duly resolved with proper documented correspondents between SLR and the Secretary to the Ministry of Sports, Anurudha Wijekoon many moons ago.

Soon after the Special Gazette Notification was issue on April 1, WR, ARFU, the NOC and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was notified of the development by the ousted SLR administration about the sudden breakdown. All parties were highly concerned on the sudden interference, which they called a ‘politically motivated move with an agenda’ and issued statements outlining the gravity of the issue.

Ilyas then issued a clarification before filing a writ application, challenging the Special Gazette Notification in the Court of Appeal, which was initially heard last week with the respondents not turning up. The case was taken up on Friday in the presence of Justices Sobitha Rajakaruna, and Dhammika Ganepola.

Former Minister of Sports, Namal Rajapaksa and six others, including the Competent Authority Amal Edirisooriya, have been named as respondents in the application. This suspension was announced through Extraordinary Gazette No. 2273/85 dated 1st of April 2022 and was ordered by the then Minister of Sports Namal Rajapaksa with provisions under Section 32 and 33 of the Sports Act No.25 of 1973.

Two weeks ago a representative of ARFU visited Sri Lanka on a fact finding mission and a report based on the findings was issued, stating that the regional body would suspend SLR temporarily until matters are resolved. However it was later clarified that the suspension would only affect competitions and programmes involving ARFU and SLR, and Sri Lanka will still have the liberty to conduct its domestic competitions, in addition to taking part in tournaments and events conducted by WR or any other party, such as the Commonwealth Games and NOC.

“We are in no rush to rectify a matter that was forcibly enforced suspension without no proper good governance and notice given. We will report to WR, ARFU, Asian Olympic Committee, IOC and NOC to update them on the developments. Let them study the case, clarify themselves of the real crux of the issue and make their own verdicts. SLR was never on the wrong books,” Ilyas explained on what will happen with the temporary revoke of the suspension.

On behalf of the petitioner, SLR, President Council Faisz Musthapha, and Attorneys At-Law Panduka Keerthinanda, Keerthi Thilakaratne and Sanjaya Kaluarchchi appeared. On behalf of the respondents Attorney General’s Department Additional Solicitor General and President Council Sumathi Dharmawardana appeared.

Share This Post


Advertising Rates

Please contact the advertising office on 011 - 2479521 for the advertising rates.