Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara (Files photo)

Minister of Sports Dayasiri Jayasekara said that he will obtain a foreign coach for athletics when he met officials of all sports associations to convey the amendments to the Sports law No. 25 of 1973 in Sri Lanka that was gazetted on October 27, 2016.

This move to employ a foreign coach was made after taking into consideration to the present standards in athletics that has hit a low. The minister also noted that less-affluent athletes tend to drop out of the sport after leaving school. He said that he will support such talented athletes financially with the hope that they’ll reach international standards.
“I will find them sponsors and jobs so that they can continue in the sports career,” affirmed Jayasekara.

Already about 30 companies are willing to sponsor these athletes.

Jayasekara also stated that a sports calendar will be circulated to all sports associations by November 30, 2017 so that events will not clash. This will help the athletes to participate in all events and avoid the possibility of missing out on crucial events. Events have clashed in sports like athletics and badminton.

The most sensitive subject that has troubled all associations is the conducting of the Annual General Meeting (AGM). There have many questions raised with regard to the election of office bearers and the length of their terms in office.

According to the sports minister, office bearers are eligible to hold office for a period not exceeding four years. They are eligible for re-election for one more term, according to the proposed amendments to the new constitution.

Notice of announcement regarding the AGM should be sent out to members and affiliates at least 45 days prior to the date of the AGM.

Minister  Jayasekara said no leniency will shown regarding the requirement to submit the financial report to the Director General of the ministry. He insisted that such reports should be submitted 40 days before the AGM. He said that Netball Association had not submitted their financial report since 2011 and Kabaddi too has never submitted the financial report despite obtaining financial assistance from the Ministry.

Former president and present vice president of the Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) Ranjith Rodgiro said that the timeframe given to submit the financial report was insufficient. He said that if the auditors request for certain clarifications it takes time to reply thus the report could be delayed.

However, all representatives of sports association revealed that the new sports law falls in line with the IOC charter and is practical. This sentiment was expressed by Mohan de Silva of Sri Lanka Cricket.

Even the president of the Sri Lanka Golf Union, Priyath Fernando said that now it will be easy to follow the sports law and conduct the AGM without too many restrictions.

However, any person who is over 70 years old cannot contest for top posts such as president, secretary or treasurer. He can, however, be elected to a sub- committee. Their main goal should be to promote the sports throughout the country.

Minister Jayasekara also stressed that all associations must submit particulars of their coaches, so that the best and most knowledgeable will be handling the promising athletes. Some of these coaches have not followed any coaching course at any level, therefore they cannot make the grade.

Particulars of coaches must be submitted so that the ministry can help the associations elevate the standard of coachers with regard to technique. These coaches could possibly be sent overseas for further training so that they can elevate their standards.

Even promising athletes will be sent overseas for further training if the need arises, the minister said. This will only boost Sri Lanka’s chances of winning medals at international events.

Minister Jayasekara also stressed that corrupt practices should be eliminated by the selection committees. He said that they must have a criterion for selection and not encourage favouritism.

“Every player has the right to question as to why he was dropped from the side,” said the Minister.

The minister also stressed that the selection committee should watch the players play. “The players should be selected on their capability and not just by going through statics on past performances,” observed the Minister.