Sri Lankan football fans had a rude shock on Sunday (22) when news broke that the Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) had been suspended by the international football governing body FIFA, until further notice. The suspension will impact an already struggling game in Sri Lanka, risking the futures of many players and potential athletes.
The suspension came a few days after the FFSL held its general election to appoint a new executive board on 14 January. Former television journalist and parliamentarian, chief of Mannar Football League, J Sri Ranga was appointed as the new president after a close vote with his rival, Jagath Kumara de Silva. Ranga obtained 27 votes while de Silva of the Nawalapitiya Football League received 24.
“My task, as the new FFSL President, is to get rid of corruption, and I will officially take over office soon after I get an audited account report from the Auditor General’s Office with regard to the spending and grants,” Ranga told reporters soon after his election.
Outgoing chief of football Jaswar Umar, who also attempted to run for this election, was not allowed to participate in the election by the Department of Sports Development.
Umar, who led the FFSL from June 2021, received two extensions after his official term ended on 31 May 2022. However during his tenure, the team had failed to oblige to the requirements of FIFA, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the Ministry of Sports, to amend the existing FFSL Constitution.
This was a matter FIFA has been reminding FFSL of since early 2015, to remodel its Constitution, following a statutory review process and amendment to the electoral code. Despite those circumstances, Umar had forwarded his nomination to seek re-election, but complaints ensured his nomination was rejected by the Department of Sports Development on Friday (13 January). The following week, the FIFA suspension was announced.
At present, Roar Media learns that the current executive board is in the process of rectifying the suspension. Meanwhile, ousted president Umar has filed a case at the Court of Appeal against the move to remove him from the election.