Colombo (LNW): Up until this point, Lasitha Gunaratne, who had been advising the Sports Minister of Sri Lanka and served in the National Sports Council, has decided to return to the rugby club and take a position in a sports club and contribute to Sri Lanka Rugby. He was also behind the Minister’s contribution until defeated in the Asian Games. This happened because the National Sports Council was established by the Minister himself to ensure that the correct decisions were made for the Ministry.
On August 18 of this year, Lasitha Gunaratne formally requested permission to resign from the National Sports Council and he was subsequently informed on October 2nd that the Minister had granted his request for resignation. During that period, Sri Lanka had experienced a significant level of destabilization, resulting in the most severe collapse in the history of the Asian Games.
A gazette notice is issued removing the Stabilization Committee which stabilized the work stoppage of the Sri Lanka Rugby on September 25. As a final result, the minister who was standing on the influence of the Asia President got the result that during his sports minister period, Sri Lanka got the worst result in the Asian Games and the United Emirates, the country of the Asia Rugby President, showed the best results.
Lasitha Gunaratne contacted LNW and reported that he is under attack. But we are open to receiving criticism, and if there are any errors, we are eager to rectify them, in our obligation to the golden principle of Right-to-Reply. Nonetheless, we maintain our belief that the facts we inquired about are accurate.
The current displeasure of the Asian President towards Sri Lanka originated from the fact that Lasitha Gunaratne did not vote for him as President as initially agreed. If the accusation we level against him is incorrect, he has a straightforward response: “I voted.”
If it can be substantiated, then the Asia President’s incorrect reaction towards Sri Lanka by addressing a minister of Sri Lanka is wrong. If so, it can be corrected through Asanga Seneviratne, who is now close to the Asian President, who was in two decisions that he should vote and not vote for the Asia President, and It is can possible to ensure that the correct vote was cast.
The reason why the administration that succeeded Lasitha faced difficulties was due to the redistribution of power to the Uva and Western Unions. Lasitha Gunaratne can offer advice to Minister Roshan Ranasinghe, who is well aware of the reasons behind their electoral defeat and the loss of power. If those associations lose power in the election following his term as president, the reason for that will be created during his tenure as president.
Should those associations be forever banned in such a scenario? Alternatively, what are the key factors outlined in the Rugby Constitution that need to be addressed for them to regain power? As we know, the first ban was issued during the Namal Rajapaksa period, considering that the Ruger administration did not reply to the letter submitted by the Sports Ministry in accordance with the provisions of the constitution.
Whether it is because they have committed an offense that should be prevented from joining Uva and Western rugby forever, or whether they will be removed from rugby forever according to the Sri Lanka rugby constitution when a ban or censure is assigned to a sports club by closing an accessible way for an offense, than we are. The society can be better explanation by Lasitha, who is now freed from the role of the National Sports Council and is coming to comment on the national rugby process by embracing the life of rugby. He has previously served as both Vice President and President.
We did not insinuate that Lasitha was involved in any fraudulent activities. We stated that a debt of twenty million was accrued within the Rugby administration during his tenure. With the time span of Asanga, the debt has grown to exceed 50 million. We also mentioned that the presence of foreign players in the matches led to a lack of respect for the country. Isn’t it so? Was our assertion that Lasitha, the Vice President who closely worked alongside Asanga during his presidency, inaccurate?
In the end, the responsibility was attributed to Sri Lankan Rugby, resulting in a fine of £50,000 being imposed on them. You are now notifying Sri Lanka Rugby that the payment of the debt as well as these fines has been approved by the council, so you are not responsible for them. Arguably, you may think that you have evidence to say that it is right. It is not legally incorrect to state that Lasitha Gunaratne was the President who led Sri Lanka rugby during the period when the twenty million debt was incurred.
Also, we have seen, it was observed in the previous season of Sri Lanka Rugby that the efforts to clear the debt and secure new sponsors for Rugby were aimed at distancing the sport from political involvement, a stance that received opposition from both within Sri Lanka Rugby and from Asia. We respected that approach. We explicitly stated that Rizley Illyas played a role in this intervention, and we stand by that assertion today.
Are those things wrong? Is it wrong for us to respect them because Lasitha believes that the Minister of Sports Associations should behave as he wants? Should the autonomy of an association be subject to the constraints of political authority?
In a different perspective, you believe that international associations should not exert influence on a sport through individuals associated with politicians, but rather through individuals involved in the sport within that country. We have encountered such situations in the past. We concurred that Illyas, as the country’s sports-appointed authority, was in opposition to this stance. This discrepancy reflects differing understandings and viewpoints.
This pertains to the foundation of the trust we are establishing, based on goodwill and principled agreements. At that time, Lasitha Gunaratne was providing advice and exerting influence on the actions of the Sports Minister, which were contrary to what we believed and supported.
We understand that at this moment, you are not subject to the Minister’s actions and responsibilities. But if you came back to Ruger to have the power to direct part of that agenda live in it, Lasitha is still far from us. But we can reach not only Lasitha but also Roshan Ranasinghe. It is only if a sports administration unit has the possibility to carry out the independence and planned free management without political interference that we believe in.
If those associations lose money and swallow money to inflate their political image, even if the ministers are friendly, we will not be accepting.
If the village can be nurtured to add physical strength and endurance to the mental endurance of a game like rugby in the country, it is not impossible to improve the condition of rugby in Sri Lanka. But for the sake of maintaining the dependence of power and for the protection of the ministerial power in the sports law, it is a disgusting job for the sports administrator to do the work of blowing balloons for the political authorities of the government.
It is a sad situation that it is difficult for Lasithas to identify this line. If not, it is not the game that is saved. Therefore, you need to come back to the administration of Rugby, not looking for a way to spread that smell after getting rid of the law by piling up dirt on Rugby through the minister. To collect the facts needed to be smelled. If it is feasible, suggesting to Sri Lanka Rugby to highlight the rugby talents of the Vatu Tamil community, primarily concentrated around the Lindula Stadium in Nuwara Eliya, we will also go there.
If you go there with the management of the main sports clubs in Sri Lanka and consider this situation, you will feel that they are people who can give a lot to the country’s rugby players.
It is appropriate for the politician to work with the “Yes Sir” theory in order to transform the environment into a scientific situation that can be created with the environmental changes and biological factors in Sri Lanka. A chair in a sports association is valuable even without a person.
Therefore, a person sitting there can only protect the value or show that a person who is not worthy of the chair is appointed. Consequently, we hold the belief that those who can uphold the principles associated with those positions should assume those responsibilities, as opposed to those who employ administrative roles within the game to enhance their personal interests.
Lasitha can also become a part of our shared convictions and principles. Lasitha Gunaratne is free to make any allegations against us. However, before anything else, we must establish whether our statements regarding his voting or not voting for the Asia President are accurate or not.
Rather than aligning solely with the minister and dealing with issues that may be beyond legal resolution or involve confrontations within the rugby community, it is also conceivable to extend a helping hand and collaborate on positive initiatives, considering the good work accomplished in the past. It protects Lasitha Gunaratne’s blood-soaked skin. Proving that the blood is pure is better than the political praises that are done after the body, it is a medicine for a relaxed mind that can sleep well.
So, it is unnecessary to say how much happiness comes when you have a try on Ruger. Everyone in the group feels as happy as the person who has it. If one of the team is catching the legs of the runner carrying the ball, he must be crazy.
Have to be careful to choose team. There are limits on how many tries can be scored on both sides of the field. The first thing to do should be to turn to the right side of your team. In Lasitha’s new arrival at Rugby, he has only just picked up the ball. We think the team won’t be mistaken.
Also, if we have recorded any information that is not accurate or relevant concerning Lasitha Gunaratne, it is our obligation to rectify it. We are not making baseless accusations. These are events and occurrences connected to that particular period. If Lasitha can provide evidence to show that the events we mentioned are not accurate, especially in regard to voting for the Asian chairman, we will acknowledge his right to do so and respect it.
*Adapted from original article “ලසිත ජාතික ක්රිඩා සභාවෙන් නැවත රගර් වෙත….” published on 17.10.2023.