‘A’ Division clubs demand voting rights

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Despite the loss of the direct voting right system three decades ago, seven ‘A’ Division clubs affiliated to the Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU), are demanding the old system be reverted to again at the coming Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR). 

WPRFU is currently facing a suspension and the ‘A’ Division clubs affiliated to WPRFU may not be able to vote at the SLR AGM. ‘A’ Division clubs now seek their individual voting rights through a request made to the Competent Authority of the Sports Ministry.

Former Minister of Sports Namal Rajapaksa issued a Government Gazette on 1 April 2022 temporarily suspending SLR and appointing Director General of Sports Development Amal Edirisooriya as the Competent Authority to administer the functions of SLR two days prior to his resignation as Sports Minister.

Before the 2020 AGM the Sports Ministry barred WPRFU from voting in the election since they had defaulted on their membership payments to SLR in the previous years. Despite the suspension, it was reported WPRFU attended council meetings – which was illegal – and that was the reason which led the Sports Ministry to suspend SLR recently.

WPRFU clubs, namely CH, CR, Havelocks, Police, Army, Navy and Air Force, have united together, and it is understood Kandy SC, who are affiliated to the Central Province, is also set to make the same request from the Sports Ministry. Local clubs had a direct voting rights system last in 1990 before the provincial system was implemented in 1991. 

According to ‘A’ Division club member: “We are not saying the provincial union system doesn’t help, but they must focus on developing ‘B’ and ‘C’ Division teams. ‘A’ Division clubs spend millions of rupees for a season, and not a single cent has been received from WPRFU or SLR.”

SLR is currently facing full membership suspension from Asia Rugby (AR), which was imposed recently. Before the suspension, an AR delegate visited Sri Lanka in April and spent four days meeting with relevant stakeholders including the club representatives.

However, SLR President Rizly Illyas filed a case against the Sports Ministry suspension in the Court of Appeal and has received an enjoining order. The case will next be heard on 30 June 2022.

By Asanka Gammanpila