New Sri Lanka sporting body to tackle corruption, boost competition

ECONOMYNEXT- The newly formed Association of Sports Federations Society (ASFSL) will tackle corruption and improve Sri Lanka’s performance in global sporting events, a top official said.

"Corruption has spread to every part of our society like a cancer, and it has also reached sports," President Rohan Fernando said at the association’s inaugural event in Colombo.

"We tried to reverse this trend in 2018," he said.

Fernando last year contested in the election of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) Chair on a campaign of anti-corruption, but lost.

The new association will try to improve transparency, financial accountability and good governance in sports.

"If in any sports federations any laws or rules are broken, we will move fast," Fernando, a former national rower and a tea exporter, said.

ASFS intends to act as an independent body to help resolve some issues at their initial stages before being brought to the scrutiny of higher authorities.

Responding to questions, Fernando pledged to look into allegations of misconduct in selecting athletes for national teams in aquatic sports.

He also said he would identify sporting federations which are not active.

He said although 66 sporting federations are in existence, not all operate as intended.

Of the total, 33 are a part of the NOC, but only 15 take part actively, he said.

"Through this new initiative we will attempt to create one body for all sports," Fernando said.

ASFS will also attempt to improve performance of Sri Lankan athletes in global competitions.

Sri Lanka could improve more in sports such as archery, shooting, boxing and weightlifting, Sports Development Department Director general Dammika Muthugala said.

“Money is not the issue here,” he said. “It was never a matter of funding, I would fund anyone who would initiate a program to identify talented sportsmen from the rural areas and not just focus on the Colombo District.”

“In the six months that I have held this position, resolving issues within sports federations is what has been done, with next to no actual contribution for development in the industry,” he said.

 He said he was disappointed about the current situation of Sri Lankan sports. (COLOMBO, May 30, 2019)