13 associations suspended ahead of netball elections

The five-member Election Committee of the Netball Federation of Sri Lanka (NFSL) has suspended the voting rights of 13 out of 32 affiliated District Associations just before the upcoming NFSL elections for the 2024-2026 term. 

The elections are scheduled to take place on July 25 in Colombo.

This marks the first time in NFSL history that such a significant number of District Associations have been suspended before an election. The Election Committee is chaired by retired High Court Judge Sarath Edirisinghe, with members including Padmajina Siriwardena (Retired Additional Secretary), C. Rathnamudali (Retired Director of Sports), I. M. Ranasinghe (Senior Lecturer), and N. A. T. Jayasinghe (Retired Superintendent of Police).

Nominations for the NFSL elections closed on June 28. The suspended District Associations are Ampara, Colombo, Nuwara Eliya, Jaffna, Kalutara, Matale, Matara, Polonnaruwa, Vavuniya, Free Trade Zone, Mercantile, Youth Service, and the Sports & Recreation Netball Association.

According to NFSL Election Committee sources, the suspensions were based on the NFSL Constitution and regulations set by the Director General of the Department of Sports Development. Notably, the Colombo and Mercantile associations, both prominent in conducting regular tournaments and producing top national players, are among those suspended. This suspension also prevents several prominent officials from submitting their nominations for the elections.

Some of the suspended associations have already lodged protests and are expected to file an official complaint with the Minister of Sports, Harin Fernando.

The associations still eligible to vote in the NFSL elections include Anuradhapura, Badulla, Batticaloa, Gampaha, Galle, Hambantota, Kandy, Kegalle, Kilinochchi, Kurunegala, Monaragala, Mannar, Puttalam, Ratnapura, Mahaweli, State Service, Sri Lanka University, Western Province, and Nationalised Services.