Marsh sacking to cost Over Rs.41 Million
The hasty and foolhardy action of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) officials to sack former Australian cricket star Geoff Marsh as Sri Lanka national cricket coach is about to cost a mini fortune to the institution which is already struggling for financial breath. Many cricket personalities such as Arjuna Ranatunga, Tom Moody and Mahela Jayawardene pointed out that the unceremonious dumping given to Marsh was highly unethical but now the legal experts have determined that it was also not lawful. Marsh worked for less than four months as the national coach before being sacked on January 25, but the SLC will have to cough out his salary at least for two years, as he had signed a contract for that period. Marsh has demanded a cool US $ 250,000 (Rs. 33.5 million) to go with the US $ 60,000 (Rs. 8.04 million) SLC has already paid and if the opinion of SLC’s legal advisor is to be believed, SLC would be lucky to escape with that figure of more than Rs. 41.54 million
The lawyer consulted on the matter by SLC has informed them that Marsh’s contract which was valid from October 1, 2011 to September 30, 2013 could be terminated with three month’s notice but only due to misconduct or breach of employment terms. The lawyer felt that since there was no evidence to suggest those reasons, Marsh is entitled to the entirety of the remuneration for the contracted period. The lawyer has very clearly pointed out that the contract Marsh signed did not permit SLC to terminate it due to lack of performance.
Even if there was such a provision Marsh could not have been sacked as many analysts felt at the time as the World Cup winning former Australian coach was fresh from leading the Sri Lanka team to an unprecedented Test victory over South Africa when he was removed. Marsh’s lawyer has pointed out that 20 months of Marsh’s employment remained and has said that Marsh is entitled to paid employment for eight months at US $ 15,416 which gives a total of US $ 123,333 plus another one year at US $ 200,000. According to the basic salary alone Marsh is entitled to US $ 323,333.
After deducting the US $ 60,000 SLC had already paid Marsh, the lawyer had pointed out that SLC still had to pay Marsh US $ 263,333. The lawyer has also pointed out that SLC had wrongfully and unlawfully failed to ensure due remittances of the EPF and ETF contributions due to Marsh. SLC President Upali Dharmadasa said yesterday that the SLC lawyers have already sent a reply to Marsh’s lawyers. “Marsh had sent a letter of demand and I believe our lawyers have replied it,” he said. A former SLC official said that it is all business as usual for the SLC.
“Colossal legal fees due to bad governance is a feature in the history of SLC. So legal fees to fight another case and paying damages afterwards is quite routine there. Who cares?”, he asked adding “after all, it is not the personal money of any of the officials who took a stupid wrong decision.” He pointed out that SLC would be paying salaries to two national coaches at the same time for the next two years. One coach, Graham Ford, will be paid to do the job while Marsh will be paid to stay away.
Former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga called the move "disgraceful" and "unprofessional" when Marsh was sacked in January. Another former Sri Lanka coach Tom Moody tweeted that Marsh had been “sold down the river” while the current Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene pointed out four months was hardly enough for Marsh to prove his worth. Marsh was replaced by South African Graham Ford, who became Sri Lanka's fourth coach since Australian Trevor Bayliss quit after the World Cup final in April 2011.
- By Channaka De Silva