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| by Prabath Saha-Bandu

( November 1, 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Opposition has demanded, in Parliament, a thorough probe into a sex scandal that has rocked Sri Lanka Cricket and stringent action against the culprits. UNP MP Ajith P. Perera said some of the women cricketers had been compelled to have sex with certain officials to secure places in the national team. The government claimed action had already been taken and President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage had ordered two separate investigations into the allegations.

What’s this world coming to when sportswomen cannot play for the country without gratifying the carnal desires of some sickos in the garb of officials? Some principals demand and obtain sexual favours from mothers desperate for admitting their children to public schools. Unless these sexual predators are brought to justice as a national priority no woman will be safe in this country.

Time was when mothers asked their sons to stop playing cricket and concentrate on their studies to achieve success in life. But, today, it is the other way around; mothers pressure their sons to stop studying and play cricket at a tender age so as to be able to make all the money in the world in a few years and live happily ever after. Former World Cup winning Sri Lankan skipper Arjuna Ranatunge has famously said that the rot in our cricket set in the day cricketers started playing for money. No truer word has ever been spoken of the game! It needs to be added that the situation took a turn for the worse the day politicians started meddling with the cricket administration and crooks got catapulted to top positions thereof.

When politics and not merit becomes the sole criterion for selecting top officials of any sports control body dregs go places and ruin those institutions. Sri Lanka Cricket has been no exception. There are, of course, some decent men there, but they are voiceless and wary of standing up to the rogues for fear of reprisal. The media, former players and many others have fought quite a battle all these years to reverse this trend but in vain so much so that cricket has ceased to be the gentleman’s game it used to be.

Susanthika Jayasinghe also complained of harassment at the hands of a powerful politician in the Kumaratunga government (1994-2000). Others may have given in but being made of sterner stuff Susie courageously fought back and the politico had to beat a retreat. She went on to put Sri Lanka on the map by winning an Olympic Silver. Susie’s greatest achievement, in our book, was not her much coveted medal but her great escape from that randy politico blinded by lust!

Politicians responsible for appointing sexual predators to the top notches of sports bodies cannot absolve themselves of the blame for this sorry state of affairs. The onus is on them to keep their pet beasts on a tight leash.

The so-called Cricket Board is Sri Lanka’s Augean Stables. It stinks to high heaven and cleaning it is a Herculean task. The government is apparently determined to keep it that way. The place is perennially in dire financial straits because crooks help themselves to its funds with impunity. Worse, they ride rough shod over good players who refuse to toe their line. These elements are ruling the roost and lining their pockets as they are servile and malleable enough to pander to the whims and fancies of their political masters at the expense of the interests of the game.

One should not be so naïve as to expect anything to come of the ongoing investigations into the Sri Lanka Cricket sex scandal. The sickos who have used their political connections to secure high posts are likely to be let off the hook because the victims may not want to come forward to give evidence against them for obvious reasons.

(The writer, editor of the "The Island", where this piece was original appeared)

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