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Sri Lanka football, stuck in the mud hole!

Sri Lanka football, stuck in the mud hole!

I was plainly distressed to read the report in the Daily Mirror which appeared on 02.02.2015, under banner headlines “Financial dishonesty in Football” exactly two days prior to celebrate the 67 year of Independence of our country. Even as we were passing such an historic milestone, the game of Football remains stuck in the mud hole. According to the write up the Auditor General had produced a report citing many misappropriations on a request made by the Hon. Secretary, FFSL by his letter dated 06.08.2014. The Executive Committee has raised the issue at the meeting held on 31st January 2015 as to why and who initiated such a sinister request without the knowledge of its members. As a football administrator, having served the FFSL over several years, it is indeed with a touch of sadness that we see the game going deep and deeper into the mud without any meaningful development and solution solely due to the autocratic attitude of the President who has no football on him except a Player’s ID card.

The new Sports Minister is of course engrossed with the affairs of cricket since the impending World Cup which our team will no doubt have to contest vigorously. Football is in a much greater plight though of course our country and its administrators don’t value it as much as cricket. Blatter the FIFA boss made a visit last December and saw to himself the tamasha that the FFSL put together at great cost. Over Rs. 16 million has been spent. Only Ariyalai Football Training center in the Jaffna peninsula which was apparently completed two years ago was reopened. For Blatter, the visit was twofold, one to push up the image of his new found friend among our local leagues and also to kick start his own election propaganda.

The Audit Report goes back to 2006 – 2008. We are now in 2015. What was Auditor General doing for so long begs reason though many charges raised are serious but unfortunately stale at present. What was the AG doing when those accounts were submitted for Audit then? What good can come out of this late strike one might ask and what is the purpose? The people named in the report are already out of Football. There were no charges framed against them, both by the CID and the Bribery Commission to be fair. But, the people now running the FFSL were also very much part of these issues, they are now pretending as if they have landed from the moon and cleverly scheming with the assistance of some of the media to sling mud and to put the blame elsewhere. The present President was the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Hony.Treasurer, Vice President (Finance) and Senior VP overlooking Finance, during the said period. He saw no evil, he heard no evil nor did he speak of any misdoings until he became the President in 2013 through the musical chairs.

Having assumed office, breaking the protocol, the President flew to FIFA HQ along with his son probably to accept the mission to throw out Manilal from the football arena. It is from there he became the blue eyed boy of the FIFA Boss. In order to serve the Blatter’s agenda, he has turned against the man who helped him to reach the top, heaping all faults on the man who after all, brought so much funds and benefits to Sri Lanka. The fully fledged Football House and 13 other football centers, rightly or wrongly came to stay during Manilal’s period.

Having enjoyed the close company of the former boss and having got all the privileges over the years, it looks like the new football boss is determined to kill the goose for selfish gains. When I appeared at a live SIRASA football talk show from their Pannipitiya Studios, Ranjith who was the treasurer FFSL then was praising and defending the former boss to hilt during the debate. He was almost worshipping the man at every meeting and at every turn that he got until he became the President.

The legal cases faced by FFSL speak volumes about the present maladministration of the one man committee that has been going on for the last 20 odd months. Due to selfish and foolish acts the game is suffering and has suffered a lot and should not be allowed to suffer anymore. Only about 07 weeks ago many in the football fraternity learnt that a Mediation Committee comprising sensible senior officials were appointed by the Ex.co in order to clear the air for good governance. But, that effort too now seems uncertain because of back stabbing.

No wonder that the Maldives slaughtered Sri Lanka by 10-0, goals in a championship two years ago, friendly’s with Sychelles cost us 3-0, while one was drawn 1-1. With Bangladesh 1-0, and finally losing to Malaysia U 23 team by 2-0. All these underlines the very poor standards to which we have fallen. Those who are with the FFSL know that an arrogant one man show allows no other opinion & sidelines those who dare to question the incumbent. Even the Secretary General has become a mere puppet merely enjoying foreign trips and doing very little work. The FIFA website no wonder names the CEO who is close to the President as the FFSL Secretary, undermining & overlooking the man in the seat. This issue cannot be said a mistake. But, then why cheat and for whose benefit?

Better late than never, my humble appeal is to hand over football to an interim administration, for a short while until we put the house in order. The Sports Minister must act now, before it is too late. It must seek the support of FIFA & AFC and call genuine characters well versed with the game to save the Sri Lankan Football and bring far reaching changes. There are many within the administration who can make a difference but unfortunately, they are trapped in the system that keeps out talented, technical, professional and capable persons.

Past interim committees had people like Ranjith Pandithage, Charitha Ratwatte, F. A. Yaseen and Jothi Mallawarachi to name a few who helped to revive the game from past setbacks. There are also stalwarts like former DIG Bodhi Liyanage, DIG T. Wanigaratne, Subani Hasimdeen, Chandradasa Perera and many more, who if invited would help out to prevent this beautiful game from being buried in the Mud Hole Forever!
A.H.S.M. Uvais

Former Football Referee/Coach/Administrator, Chairman Media Committee FFSL, Secretary Ref. Com. FFSL/SLFRA/CDFRA/COL. F.L., AFC Match Commissioner/Referees Assessor

Posted on 2015-03-22 14:26:05
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QUESTION?

Should Dilshan have continued until Cricket World Cup 2019?

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THE DAY'S QUOTE

“That was pathetic. No excuse at all. The whole team is responsible. Whoever the captain is, we have to back him and try and support him. The captain has to do so many other stuff. All the 11 guys must back him and support him.” “We have addressed the issue of finishing off the overs on time in the past as well, but it cropped up again. It’s so unfortunate to see Upul going out as he is a crucial player in our set up. He batted well against South Africa and it’s so unfortunate. This can’t happen again,” - Angelo Mathews

FEEDBACK/COMMENTS

Cricket is a game of fine margins and Mathews is set to be a modern great. Hang in their Angie, this team can achieve something on this tour. Thirimane and the youngsters form was a real positive. Prasad was missed. Chameera should be persisted with. If Bairstow was our early outcome could have been very different.

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