Sri Lanka Football – taken on the wrong foot! | Print edition

They became enemies of friends and they came together again to fight against the malfeasance of the current administration of the FFSL.

News is raging in media circles about the impending AGM of the Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL), following the visit of FIFA officials early next week for talks with the President and the ExCo, as well as with officials from the Ministry of Sports, in order to discuss the next steps in the saga which is unfolding hour by hour.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Sports, in its generosity, has given its approval (along with a few other National Federations) to extend the date of the AGM by a period of 15 days, although many ExCo members of the FFSL claim that they have not received any official notification or notification to the official journal. Thus, the mandate of the FFSL would have expired on August 31, 2022, which was also an extended deadline.

A splinter group led by no less than its former chairman and senior vice chairman Ranjith Rodrigo formally called a press conference last Thursday to explain why it is being forced to take such a drastic step. Rodrigo was joined by fellow former president, CEO and national captain Anura de Silva, to lay bare the compelling reasons behind the repeated objections that have been raised against the administration led by FFSL president Jaswar Umar. Joining these two FFSL strongmen in this campaign is another FFSL stalwart, Dr Manil Fernando, who opposed Umar in the last election, backed by several league officials, all of whom claim that the current administration has operated in the most irresponsible way over the past year or so. Enough is enough was the refrain.

These prominent FFSL officials were adamant in their allegations that several gross misconducts took place under Omar’s watch. Some of these wrongdoings, in their view, are:

Importantly, a bone of contention is the fact that the FFSL failed to amend the constitution despite instructions from COPE and the Ministry of Sports and its adoption at the FFSL AGM/Council to be held on 31 may ; this deadline was later extended to 31 August 2022. It is common knowledge that successive administrations had not amended the constitution according to the model proposed by FIFA; the restraining orders obtained may have delayed this adoption, but further delays seem unjustified.

It is understood that FIFA officials are due to visit the island early next week and will be in consultation with the FFSL and the Ministry of Sports regarding the overdue GA and adoption of the constitution. revised. It may be in the interest of these FIFA officials to also meet with splinter groups in order to get a first-hand knowledge of what is happening in the local football landscape. It is common knowledge that political intervention is commonplace in the conduct of FFSL business and all forms of sleight of hand are used to circumvent or distract both the authorities and the football-loving public in Sri Lanka. Lanka of what is happening. Truth is stranger than fiction and the FIFA Integrity Committee must not allow anything but the truth to prevail.

The staggering sums of money that are quoted are mind-boggling. Most, if not all of these infusions come from FIFA or the AFC. Thus, its absolute diligence and transparency must be evident in all relationships and transactions. Sri Lanka is going through a huge economic crisis in the presence of the IMF. Therefore, any offense or mismanagement on the part of the FFSL would also fall under the responsibility of the Ministry of Sports. Liability on the part of these government agencies is paramount and should not be tolerated.

For a long time, the general public and the football community in particular have long remained stunned and silent at the gross negligence and corruption of Football House. The way the Department of Sport ignored this behavior is a sad testament to what hurts sport in general. It is time for the Ministry of Sports and FIFA to join forces to set up a normalization committee that can carry out a forensic audit and completely overhaul the life of football in this country. Not only is football trapped on the wrong foot, but it is at the bottom of the FIFA rankings and destined to stay there, unless the powers that be act without delay.

  • A contradictory report entitled General Secretary’s Report dated November 21, 2017 submitted to the Auditor General without the approval of the FFSL ExCo. Apparently, the Special Investigation Unit of the Ministry of Sports (MoS) carried out an impartial investigation on the instructions of COPE.
  • The recommendations as carried in a press release by these factions, state: a) The MoS should take appropriate action against Mr. UL Jaswar
  • Mr. UL Jaswar is unfit to hold office in a sports body, due to irresponsible conduct regarding the above matter.
  • Although the report and recommendations were received by the Department of Sport on September 8, 2021, no action was taken until April 2022, when the Department referred the matter to the Attorney General for his recommendations. No action yet.
  • Attempted to obtain a $30,000 media rights payment from a third-party account during the Four Nations International Football Tournament in November 2021, without the knowledge or approval of the ExCo of the FFSL.
  • Suspension of three regional football leagues as an act of revenge, without proper course of action, in an attempt to prevent their right to vote.
  • Use of funds without an annual budget approved by the FFSL Board since June 2021.
  • Withdrawal and transfer of large sums of USD estimated at Rs.3M, from FFSL overseas accounts without FFSL ExCo approval and without valid reason.
  • Withdrawal of funds in the year 2022 in the amount of USD 1,545,553 (at the exchange rate of Rs.359), i.e. approx. Rs.554M
  • Cash advance of USD 52,000 for the Maldives National Team Tour for the SAFF Championship in September 2021, which has yet to be accounted for.
  • Failure to circulate or submit monthly accounts among members appropriately since June 2021; thus not all FFSL expenditures received approval.
  • 2022 Champions League team jerseys with ‘ZOLO’ brand without any knowledge and endorsement of sponsorship value by FFSL ExCo.

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