SLC’s 50,847 free World Cup tickets trigger controversy

SLC responded to only one audit query out of 25 since 2008 – AG
Over 23,000 extra tickets printed for five matches

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) printed 50,847 complimentary tickets for World Cup 2011 and distributed them among politicians, officials and those near and dear to senior SLC officials. Well informed sources said that the possibility of some of the complimentary tickets being sold couldn’t be ruled out.

The Auditor General, in a damning report on SLC sent to the parliamentary watchdog committee, COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises) revealed the irregularities regarding the issue of free tickets, though it didn’t identify various categories of recipients of complimentary tickets.

According to the AG, 272,318 tickets to the value of Rs. 96,218,150 were printed for 12 WC 2011 matches played at the Premadasa stadium, the Pallekele Stadium and at the Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium. Although, tickets valued at Rs. 89,347,890 had been sold, SLC so far received only Rs.67, 384,490, the AG revealed.The AG blamed SLC and World Cup Secretariat for failing to provide written directives regarding the issue of free tickets, though 50,847 complimentary tickets had been printed.

The COPE questioned former SLC chiefs last Wednesday in parliament. Sources said that they would be summoned again next month.

The AG said that successive SLC interim administrations had ignored audit queries on many occasions. According to the AG’s missive to COPE, which had been taken up at last Wednesday’s stormy session in parliament, SLC hadn’t responded to 12 audit queries in 2008 and eight the following year. Of the five audit queries raised last year, SLC had responded to only one query.

Sources said that controversy surrounded SLC’s decision to print 3,002 tickets more than the number required for two matches played at the Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium. SLC had also printed a staggering 20,544 tickets more than the number required for three matches played at the Pallekele Stadium, sources added.

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