A team of representatives of FIFA and the AFC yesterday (28) met the secretary to the sports ministry for talks, with minister Roshan Ranasinghe joining in from Polonnaruwa via video-conferencing.
The football governing bodies were represented by Rolf Tanner, Prince Rufus and Francis Molasoko of FIFA and Purushottam Kattel of the AFC.
They thanked the minister for having succeeded in getting the international ban lifted even before elections are held for Football Sri Lanka, said a ministry statement.
They asked that the laws of the country be enforced against any match-fixing, betting or the use of banned steroids.
Minister Ranasinghe stressed that all sports associations should adhere to the country’s sports laws. In instances where the law was enforced, he charged, certain officials had gone to international sports bodies and alleged political interference.
To prevent such incidents, proper coordination will be maintained with FIFA and all decisions pertaining to football intimated.
In line with the president’s general stand for the country, Ranasinghe said his ministry was striving to rid sports of fraud and corruption.
He thanked FIFA and AFC officials for their presence at the football election as observers.
Blaming the football executive committee for Sri Lanka’s fall in world football rankings, the minister pledged to coordinate with FIFA and AFC to closely monitor Football Sri Lanka for the benefit of the game and its players.
He charged that officials were profiting from the international funding for football, whereas players were made to engage in menial jobs even for a livelihood.
Ranasinghe explained the actions taken to develop the game at rural level, and said laws have been formulated to eliminate ‘paper clubs’.
FIFA officials promised to provide equipment and other facilities in collaboration with the next FSL office-bearers to promote and develop the game in Sri Lanka.