Sri Lanka Intolerant to Corruption After Unstable Period in Cricket

Cricket

The subcontinent has had its fair share of instability in cricket periods characterized by the underworld and political parties corrupting the entire sport. Match-fixers emerge as the South African captain Hansie Cronje was banned for life in 2000.

The 2010 era of spot-fixing in Pakistan widely affected the cricket industry. More cricketers emerged with corruption stories rooting back to power politics. Soon Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan was also banned from playing cricket for two years. He failed to report two match-fixing deals held during the tri-series held in January 2018 between Sri Lanka Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. Furthermore, he reportedly had information of more off the record dealings during the IPL, which he failed to report.

More recently, the spot-fixing trends have emerged over Sri Lanka, a nation that highly values this sport and has remarkable rankings. This has troubled the International Cricket Council as allegations of illegal deals on a test-match against England have been reported. ICC has started its investigations and has encouraged anyone with huge amnesty for providing any information against the culprits.

This has exposed major key members of the cricket industry, notable personalities include Sanath Jayasuriya, a selector of the Sri Lankan team, as well as fast bowlers Dilhara Lokuhettige and Nuwan Zoysawas. People are being charged for violating the anti-corruption code and the Sri Lankan team has been considered entirely corrupt by the ICC.

However, actions against corruption have been taken at a wider scope. Sri Lanka emerged as the first South Asian country to charge against match-fixing and other sports-related offenses. New laws introduced jail time of up to 10 years along with fines of up to $555,000. These laws were opposed by many people but it was high time Sri Lanka fought sports-related corruption, as many notable personalities such as Arjuna Ranatunga, supported the bill. Furthermore, gambling and betting restrictions have also been imposed.

The pressure is rising on people involved and former Sri Lankan Cricket chief as well as an influential figure in business sports and politics, Sumathipala seems to be the next target of this legislation. Previously he has been sacked thrice for allegations but came back as no proof was presented against him. Recently he has been said to have connections to the sports gambling industry, however, he completely denies any involvement.

This legislation is just the first step towards a long journey of cleaning the sports industry from the horrors of corruption.