The Director-General of the Ministry of Sports KDS Ruwanchandra in a shocking decision has directed all local rugby clubs not to utilise the services of foreign players for the upcoming 2015/16 inter-club rugby season.
This decision was arrived at after the Director-General (DG) had invited all ‘A’ division rugby clubs for a meeting to put forward their suggestions regarding the participation of foreign players in local tournaments and take a vote on this issue. The DG conducted this meeting as the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) has been dissolved and is run by the Ministry of Sports.
All eight ‘A’ division clubs participated in the voting last week strangely the top four rated clubs Kandy SC, Navy SC, Havelock SC and CR and FC voted against foreigners participating in the upcoming rugby season.
Factually, these four clubs are the richest in all aspects of the game, especially financially as well as performance wise in Sri Lanka.
Army SC, Air Force SC and Police SC voted for foreign players to represent their clubs, while CH and FC abstained from voting.
The forces benefitted immensely from foreign players last season with Army SC fielding 14, Air Force SC four and Police SC seven.
Last year Kandy SC were crowned the league champs when they ousted Navy SC by a whisker. After a close battle, Havelock’s retained the third position while CR and FC finished fourth.
“After the voting, the majority of clubs did not want foreign players to participate in the upcoming 2015/16 season, so we had no objection but to carry out their decision,” said Rohan Gunaratne the Executive Director of the SLRFU.
Analysing this scenario, it is strange that Kandy SC, Navy SC, Havelock SC and CR and FC had said ‘no’ to foreign players. It was these four clubs that benefited immensely through the individual brilliance of the foreign players.
Last season Kandy SC, Navy SC, Havelocks SC and CR&FC fielded six foreigners each.
If not for the trio from Fiji, namely Kitioni Ratudradra, Bati Penaia and Vilimoni Satala, Kandy SC would not have gained the status or height that they proudly enjoy in Sri Lankan rugby today since 1992.