The inter-club knockout tournament played for the Clifford Cup has been a hot topic for conversation over the past few days, in some cases hotter than the weather in Colombo.

To begin with, it is reported that Kandy SC had made a request to extend the start for the Clifford Cup final (scheduled for March 26) from 4.30 pm to 6.30 pm. SLRFU Executive Director Rohan Gunaratne told Nation that Kandy SC’s request couldn’t be accommodated because CR&FC were not agreeable for a change of time regarding the kick-off.

Kandy SC’s concerns probably came because of the rising temperatures which medical experts say can be injurious to the health. Some doctors have even warned the public to take precautions with temperatures in some parts of the country going below 40 degrees Celsius.

The other hot topic for discussion has been obtaining the services of a foreign referee for the Clifford Cup matches due to requests from clubs. Gunaratne said that the SLRFU was compelled to bring down an expatriate referee in the face of ‘heavy requests from clubs’.  The Clifford Cup final will be officiated by New Zealander Tim (Timothy) Baker who is employed by the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union as a professional referee.

Talking about the weather, Gunaratne opined that since cricketers are seen playing matches during the hottest part of the day, rugby can be played from 4.30 pm onwards.

He said that despite the Clifford Cup being one of the oldest sports trophies on offer, having first been given away in 1911, it is in very good condition. Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekare will be the chief guest at the final.