The International Cricket Council (ICC) Board has announced the immediate lifting of the provisional suspension imposed on Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC). The decision comes after SLC was suspended on November 10 for violating its obligations as an ICC member, particularly concerning autonomy in managing cricket affairs and avoiding government interference.
Background of Suspension
SLC’s suspension in November stemmed from concerns about government interference in cricket administration, a violation of ICC membership obligations. The move was intended as a warning to Sri Lanka, with the ICC closely monitoring the situation. ESPNcricinfo reported that SLC itself had requested the suspension to demonstrate to Sri Lanka’s government the ICC’s stance against meddling in cricket affairs.
Despite the suspension, cricket activities in Sri Lanka remained largely unaffected, with the ICC Board ensuring that bilateral and domestic series and tournaments proceeded as planned. However, control over ICC annual funding was retained until the suspension was lifted. Notably, Sri Lanka hosted Zimbabwe for a white-ball series early in 2024, indicating operational continuity despite governance challenges.
Governance Issues and Resolutions
In the lead-up to the suspension, Sri Lanka experienced governance turmoil when the sports minister sacked the SLC board and installed an interim committee. However, Sri Lanka’s courts swiftly reinstated the elected board, leading to a complex situation where the suspended SLC board continued to oversee cricket operations.
SLC’s suspension marked the second instance of a Full Member being suspended by the ICC due to governance issues. Previously, Zimbabwe Cricket faced suspension in 2019 under similar circumstances, highlighting the ICC’s commitment to upholding governance standards across member associations.
The lifting of the suspension on Sri Lanka Cricket signifies a resolution to the governance concerns that prompted the ICC’s intervention. With normalcy restored, Sri Lanka can now focus on advancing cricket development and ensuring autonomy in its administration. The episode serves as a reminder of the importance of governance integrity in global cricket governance.