Sri Lanka Cricket expects government assistance to pay for the two new stadia that were the prime contributors to the board’s financial disarray, even though it has wiped over $8 million from its debt since January 2012, SLC treasurer Nuski Mohamed said. SLC owed almost $70 million after building international venues in Hambantota and Pallekele, as well as renovating Colombo’s Premadasa Stadium.
The stadium in Hambantota has been built on Sri Lankan government’s recommendation. Hambantota a largely rural district before the tenure of president Mahinda Rajapakse, has had substantial infrastructure development, and now has a functional international airport as well as a port. The cricket stadium forms part of the government’s plan to transform Hambantota into the second major urban hub of Sri Lanka.
Nuski Mohamed said that in addition to making a dent in the debt, SLC had also kept up with ongoing payments, including player salaries, and had settled accounts from the World Twenty20 tournament Sri Lanka hosted last year. Not counting the debt incurred by building stadia, for which government assistance is now expected, Mohamed said he hoped SLC would be debt-free inside two years.
During the year, we made a profit of 1.369 billion rupees but most of that surplus went for the payment of capital and interest to banks, in order to reduce our liabilities. The liabilities we took over at the time were almost US $18.5 million, and I am pleased to inform you that the current liability position is a little over $10 million with the Bank of Ceylon.”
SLC paid outstanding player salaries in February 2012 by obtaining a loan of just over $5 million from the state-owned Bank of Ceylon. Mohamed said the loan taken specifically for player payments had been settled by the middle of last year, but that SLC is still in massive debt to Bank of Ceylon, due to other loans.
“Because we don’t have many tours this year, our cash flow is low,” Mohamed said. In addition to asking for a repayment extension, SLC has also proposed a change in the interest rate, in order to assist with the board’s ongoing financial recovery.