The election of office-bearers for the Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) slated for January 14 is out of the jurisdiction of sports minister Roshan Ranasinghe or his ministry, said his senior advisor Sudath Chandrasekara.
The advisor said this in response to the article published on ‘The Leader’ yesterday (24) under the headline “FIFA & AFC warn FFSL of possible sanction, including suspension”.
The ministry was planning to hold the election as per agreement with FIFA, when the FFSL’s former president Jaswar Umar took the matter to court and obtained an order, he explained.
That court order will be the basis for next month’s election and the director of sports has no part to play in it either, said Chandrasekara.
There is no dispute over the gazette notifications issued by the minister recently with FIFA, he claimed further.
When these claims were placed before former FFSL president Jaswar Umar, he categorically dismissed them.
Umar said that FIFA’s continued stand that the more than 35-year-old FFSL constitution was against its protocols had been ignored until he intervened and got a new constitution adopted by two-thirds majority within a short period.
Before the new constitution’s adoption, he said, he organized delegations from both FIFA and the AFC to have face-to-face talks with the sports minister, his secretary, sports director, Sports Council, appeal committee chairman and advisor Chandrasekara.
Subsequently, minister Ranasinghe held talks with FIFA, gave FFSL a two-month extended term and had its constitution amended, with an electoral roadmap formulated, said Umar.
As per that roadmap, a second visit was made by FIFA and AFC officials on September 22 and the FFSL had an extraordinary general meeting where the constitution was adopted as per FIFA regulations and an election committee comprising retired judges was appointed.
On the following day, the minister annulled the gazette extending the term of sports associations to bring FFSL activities to a standstill, Umar charged.
Agreement at court of appeal
With reports the ministry was going to appoint an interim committee, Umar and the former FFSL secretary petitioned the court of appeal, which eventually recommended holding speedy elections within a democratic framework.
The Attorney General’s Department that appeared on behalf of the sports secretary informed the court that the election would take place under the old constitution.
The petitioners disagreed and maintained it should be held under the provisions of the new one sanctioned by FIFA.
Since the AG’s Department remained unyielding, petitioners consented to hold the election for a one-year term under the old constitution.
Umar spoke to the media at the conclusion of the hearing:
Sri Lanka faces suspension!
The ex-president handed over copies of a joint FIFA-AFC letter to the Presidential Secretariat and the Sports Ministry yesterday.
Speaking to journalists, Umar said the ministry was yet to inform FIFA about cancellation of the gazette, change in the electoral roadmap, court case and the election proposed for January 14.
He accused ministry officials of being irresponsible and wrote-off holding an election for a five-month term.
The new regulations announced by the minister were against FIFA’s basic principles and denied sports associations of their independence, he said.
He urged collective action without finger-pointing to prevent Sri Lanka from getting an international suspension.
FIFA & AFC warn FFSL of possible sanctions, including suspension
Management committee to supervise FSL until election is held