Even though the Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) have set a date for its elective Annual General Meeting (AGM), Sports Ministry says former’s decision is null and void as the term of office of current members lapsed on September 15. FFSL held a Special General Meeting (SGM) on Thursday at a hotel in Wattala, [...]


FFSL in further disarray


The confusion created by an invalid Gazette Notification will only leave the delegates of FIFA and AFC more confused

Even though the Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) have set a date for its elective Annual General Meeting (AGM), Sports Ministry says former’s decision is null and void as the term of office of current members lapsed on September 15.

FFSL held a Special General Meeting (SGM) on Thursday at a hotel in Wattala, with the presence of three foreign delegates. However, a Special Gazette Notification issued on September 17 has now made all decisions taken by sports associations, including FFSL, after September 15, null and void.

This only deepens the present crisis, where administration has been accused of mismanagement of funds and failure to follow instructions provided previously by FIFA, AFC and the Ministry of Sports.

The present FFSL administration managed to adopt the new constitutional amendments, which was endorsed by a majority at the presence of foreign observers at the SGM, but according to the latest development all decisions and transactions made by the FFSL office bearers will be identified as invalid after September 15.

The SGM was observed by the FIFA Regional Office Development Manager of South Asia, Prince Rufus, the Senior MA Governance Services Manager of FIFA, Sarah Solemale and the Head of South Asia Unit Development Department and Governance Department, AFC, Parushottam Kattel with the declaration of FFSL that they have received an extension of their existing term up to October 31 through a Special Gazette Notification issued by the Ministry of Sports.

However, after the Special Gazette Notification was found illegal as it had been issued without the Sports Minister’s valid signature another Special Gazette Notification was issued overruling the previous one which legally made the present FFSL administration an invalid entity to function and govern.

“This is an act clearly against the Sports Law. The present FFSL administration has no mandate to function and act on behalf of the sport,” elaborated Attorney-at-Law Panduka Keerthinanda, Sri Lanka’s topmost sports lawyer.

Keerthinanda also explained that the extension FFSL obtained through a Special Gazette Notification is not entirely legal and that FFSL has been taking cover under umbrellas to play an illegal sport. The validity of the Special Gazette Notification was even questioned by opposition parliamentarian Mujibur Rahuman, who claimed that it was issued by a top official of the Ministry of Sports, without the knowledge or consent of the Sports Minister.

“Arbitrarily this is an act against the Sports Law, an illegal act. We have been made to understand that FFSL officials have even misled FIFA in order to obtain letters supporting their extension of stay, providing false reasons,” added Keerthinanda, a legal consultant who played key roles in drafting and implementing the National Sports Policy, Convention Against Match Fixing Law, Convention Against Doping in Sport and initial draft which was implemented to the Sports act 25 of 1973.

Reports said that FFSL obtained the approval from FIFA and AFC to hold its postponed election on October 23 after the new constitution was passed with a majority of two-thirds despite 13 members abstaining from voting. During the process FFSL has added new clauses such as allocating three votes for a League, instead of one and even appointed a three member election committee. Football experts said that it was a move to create further diversions among within leagues, as even top bodies like FIFA, AFC, IOC and other sport bodies across the globe and even domestically, allow only one vote.

“As far as we are concerned, the FFSL mandate ended on September 15. We actually do not know of any of the decisions taken by them, but what we know is their election should be conducted by someone authorized by the Ministry of Sports. We are acting absolutely legally, and a reasonable decision will be taken according to the Sports Law and the law of the country,” stated Dr. Amal Harsha de Silva, the Secretary of the Ministry of Sports.

The FFSL administration, now unidentified by the Ministry of Sports as an entity with a valid mandate, has been accused by several parties within the football fraternity of ‘misconduct, mismanagement and failing to uphold transparency with regards to funds owned by FFSL’. They are also accused of failing to hold Executive Committee meetings and Council meeting in accordance to its own constitution.

“We can’t criticize unreasonably but we also can’t turn a blind eye on matters like these, especially when it comes to mismanagement of their own funds. They should be dealt according to the Sports Law purely because lot of mismanagement has taken place, and even their spending are approved by the Executive Committee in accordance to the FFSL constitution,” Keerthinanda disclosed.

Former FFSL presidents Anura de Silva and Ranjith Rodrigo, also a vice president of the present administration and former national skipper turned national coach Mohamed Amanullah have held press conferences during the recent weeks, accusing the present FFSL administration of similar failures in addition to taking football to the lowest level locally and globally.

“We have been forced to come out in public and reveal because the misdeeds keep on continuing. If they were transparent and if they were passionate about the sport, Sri Lanka would not have to suffer humiliatingly in recent tournaments and our global ranking should not be 207. Nothing happened overnight, it was dragged from the first day they were elected for one year in June last year,” accused Amanullah.

What could take place in the leading up to October 23 AGM is presently unclear and with the decisions made after September 15 totally illegal, the now ‘illegal’ FFSL administration may go through further scrutiny before an administration is duly and lawfully appointed, according a top Sports Ministry official.

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