Sri Lanka Cricket suspends all domestic tournaments, Ministry of Sports to run old structure


Sri Lanka Cricket team players during ODI series against
Image Source : GETTY Sri Lanka Cricket team players during ODI series against Pakistan in September 2022

In a major development, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) suspended all domestic cricket tournaments on Saturday, September 2. Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Sports will oversee all the operations, including the Major Club 3-Day Tournament till further updates. This move originated after the board dispute over restricting domestic tournaments and their disagreement with the sports ministry.

“Sri Lanka Cricket has decided to immediately halt all board-conducted domestic tournaments,” SLC said in a media release on Saturday. “This includes the ongoing Major Club 3-Day Tournament and also the Invitational Club Tier ‘B’ 3-Day Tournament. Accordingly, Sri Lanka Cricket is compelled to suspend all SLC-organised domestic cricket tournaments until clarification is obtained on the same.”

Notable, Sri Lanka Cricket tried to revamp their much-criticized domestic structure in 2021. The former Technical Advisory Committee (now defunct) headed by Aravinda de Silva introduced a new format for the Major Club 3-Day Tournament with teams divided into two groups of 13 each. However, the new format for domestic first-class cricket lacked some clarification on the relegation process with the bottom two teams from each group getting relegated each season for the first two years and then three from each group in the third year. 

Relegated teams had no competition (first-class) to participate so they had to play in the white-ball tournament the Governor’s Trophy. Relegated teams reportedly complained about a lack of clarity over quality tournaments and also criticised the format. SLC considered the complaints in June 2023 and the board voted to bring back the previous two-tier format for both the Major Club three-day and the Invitational Club Tier B three-day tournaments.

However, Gesto Cricket Club (GCC) didn’t get a chance to play in the tier B tournament and they approached Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Sports. Their appeal was ratified by Roshan Ranasinghe, Sri Lanka’s sports minister, who instructed Sri Lanka that any change in the tournaments’ format should come keeping SLC’s constitution in mind.

Sri Lanka’s sports minister, Roshan Ranasinghe, following which the Director General of Sports wrote to SLC on August 25 stating that any move to change a tournament’s structure could only happen through a change in the SLC’s constitution. However, according to a report from ESPNCricinfo, SLC wrote to Sri Lanka’s sports minister requesting approval to change the format but did not get any official response.

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