Allegations against Marija, Weeraratne lacks merit
An analysis into allegations cast against two of Sri Lanka’s top rugby players turns out to be sans merit, at least until appropriate statutory measures are enacted to arrest situations of this nature. The allegations of Fazil Marija and Roshan Weeraratne opting for a foreign assignment at the expense of national duty and failing to fulfill an undertaking given to represent the country if and when called to do so would only encompass mere assertions.
Fundamentally the two players are not contracted by the sports governing body, the Sri Lanka rugby Football Union (SLRFU) – let alone passing of the pre-requisite consideration. Moreover, up to date the contention of the SLRFU of possible disciplinary measures against the two players concerned has not been tabled at a council meeting. Facts confirmed by Rizly Illyas, the Secretary of the SLRFU. Thirdly, the Executive Director of the SLRFU has in fact issued a letter to the two players allowing them to undergo overseas training for a period covering end April 2012 and the consent letter does not include any conditions or reservations.
The issue arose when the New Zealand embassy made a request from the SLRFU to certify Marija and Weeraratne as national players to process work permits. There was no response by the SLRFU to the said communication by the New Zealand embassy. A series of e- mail correspondence ensued betweentheslrfuandthetwo players on the matter but to no avail. However, the two players concerned have already taken flight to the Kiwi land to pursue their training programme.
When contacted by the ‘Daily Mirror’ Illyas said that the SLRFU had only deferred the issue concerning the two players and also the other players who had not turned up for practices without a valid reason until the conclusion of the Rugby Asiad division I tournament. “We are hoping to raise this matter before the Council and thereafter forward same to the Disciplinary Committee for their recommendations. The said recommendations in turn would be sent to the Ministry (Ministry of Sport),” explained Illyas.
A top official of Kandy SC, the base of a majority of the players who did not turn up for national practices in preparation for the Rugby Asiad division I tournament contended that there was no element of a violation of discipline by its players.
The official queried as to what disciplinary measures were adopted by the SLRFU in the recent past when national player/s thought it fit to abandon national duty in the midst of a tournament. Player pull outs from national duty has plagued the sport for a long period of time with fingers being pointed at various quarters. Several administrations vowed to wipe out the peril but with little success. It has now become of paramount importance for the creation of an adequate statutory framework to ensure that the best would represent the country at a given international assignment. However such remedy should essentially fall in line with elementary considerations.
-By Ranil Prematilake