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Sri Lanka appeals ICC ban over political meddling

Sri Lanka appeals ICC ban over political meddling

Sri Lanka appeals ICC ban over political meddling

Sri Lanka's sports minister said Saturday he would appeal the country's suspension from the International Cricket Council (ICC) over alleged political interference in the local board.

Roshan Ranasinghe said the world governing body's action on Friday night against his country was "illegal" and would appeal to the ICC's Dispute Resolution Committee.

"The ICC suspension of Sri Lanka is illegal. We have been maliciously suspended without giving us an opportunity to respond to the allegation," Ranasinghe told reporters in the capital Colombo.

He said the ICC had referred to "political interference" in Sri Lanka Cricket, the elected body that governs cricket in the country, but had not specified the charges.

"First, we must have the charges and then an opportunity to respond," Ranasinghe said.

"If we fail to get redress from the DRC, we will go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland."

The ICC said on Friday that Sri Lanka Cricket was "in serious breach of its obligations as a member", highlighting "the requirement to manage its affairs autonomously and to ensure that there is no government interference".

The suspension came a day after Sri Lanka's parliament asked the board to resign over allegations by Ranasinghe that it had syphoned off millions of dollars.

The ICC board will decide the suspension conditions later, it said in a brief statement.

It was not immediately clear if the indefinite suspension would affect Sri Lanka hosting the Under 19 World Cup in January.

The local board said Sri Lanka stands to lose a $2.4 million grant from the ICC to develop local venues if the 16-nation Under-19 tournament was scuttled due to the suspension.

The crisis involving the cricket board -- the richest sporting organisation in the bankrupt island country -- came to a head after Sri Lanka's humiliating World Cup defeat by India last week.

Parliament unanimously asked Sri Lanka Cricket's elected board members to resign on Thursday, accusing them of unprecedented corruption.

The board is now locked in litigation after it was sacked by the sports minister on Monday, only to be restored the following day by the Court of Appeal pending a hearing in two weeks.

The ICC has rules against political interference and has suspended Sri Lanka before.

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