On July 24, 2018, Transparency International Sri Lanka’s (TISL) Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre brought to the attention of the Minister of Sports Hon. Faiszer Mustapha, a potential incident of abuse of power, as per a complaint we had received regarding the selections process for the tennis squad for the Asian Games 2018. Media reports published on July 30, 2018 announcing the selection of the squad appear to confirm that no preventative action has been taken in this matter.
Key among the many questions regarding the selection process is the inclusion in the final squad, of a player who did not participate in the trials.
In a letter dated June 15, 2018 after the trials were conducted, the Sri Lanka Tennis Association (SLTA), had informed the competent authorities of the selections made by SLTA’s Selection Committee. The selection committee itself confirmed in writing that the player in question “did not show up for her matches and is deemed to have given a walkover”. Despite this, media reporting has confirmed that the individual in question has been selected to the squad, at the expense of an individual who had been selected through the trials. This raises several questions regarding the integrity of the selection process.
Speaking on the matter, TISL Executive Director Asoka Obeyesekere said “It is crucial for the development of sports in the country that the integrity of sport and the spirit of sportsmanship are upheld. We call on the relevant authorities once again, to ensure fair play in the selection process and to be mindful of the damaging effects to budding sportspersons caused by such alleged interference”.
TISL calls on the authorities concerned to take into consideration the fact that this matter involves juveniles and to therefore treat the case with the appropriate sensitivity.