Both the FIFA and the Asian Football Council are closely watching the trouble brewing in Sri Lanka’s football administration, reports say.
The world and the Asian governing bodies respectively contribute USD 1.5 million, or approx. Rs. 550 million, for the development of the sport in the island.
In most cases, FIFA imposes an international ban on a country if a third party intervenes in its football administration, the most recent case being India. However, that matter was speedily resolved with Indian premier Narendra Modi promising to implement the FIFA recommendations.
Sri Lanka too, is likely to face such a ban as things stand now without a solution in sight.
Football Sri Lanka’s (FSL) former president Jaswar Umar has told ‘Lankadeepa’ that the situation would have an impact on the national team presently in training in Qatar and the under-17 team that tours Uzbekistan next month.
He refused to accept FSL’s term of office as one year only, and said its two-year term should end on May 31, 2023.
The FIFA and the AFC are concerned by the failure of the Sports Ministry to adhere to its promises given to their representatives recently, said Umar.
A meeting at the Sports Ministry yesterday (26) decided to appoint a competent authority until such time an election is held for FSL, with director general of sports Amal Edirisuriya as the choice.
The Ministry has declared that FSL’s term of office expired on September 15.
With that, the Football House at Reid Avenue remains closed since September 23, and its staff left unpaid for the month.
Political backing for both contesting sides
The crisis in FSL is mainly due to the both contesting sides at the impending election has backing from powerful politicians.
The two sides are led by ex-president Umar and Manil Fernando, a son of former FSL president, the late Manilal Fernando.
Manil, a specialist doctor, is the personal physician of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa and treated him for a knee ailment recently.
Umar reportedly has the backing of Namal Rajapaksa, a former sports minister, and has earned the dislike of incumbent minister Roshan Ranasinghe.
His meeting together with tourism minister Harin Fernando of a top-level Qatari officials recently has not gone favourably with Ranasinghe either.